As a pastor, part of my responsibility is to help Christians learn how to obey the commands of Scripture. Some of Jesus’ last words were, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). As Christians, we are to be committed to a life of change. Second Peter 3:18 says, “but grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Simply put, this verse means that we are to learn it and to live it. Learn what it means to follow Christ and then live it out.
As this occurs, your life starts to change. This change happens from the inside out. You learn from Scripture and you live by the Spirit. God’s word instructs you and His Spirit empowers you and then you experience a change in your heart and in your behavior. It’s not always easy, but you have what it takes.
Unfortunately, some find themselves in an environment of low spiritual expectations. It’s all about the struggle. Victory is not expected. Overcoming is seen as impossible. Your sin will define you for the rest of your life, so you better get used to it.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Second Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” In other words, God has given to us all that we need to live a life that is reflective of the character of Christ. We can actually become more like Jesus in the way we think and in the way we act. Being conformed to the image of Christ is God’s will for our lives (Romans 8:29).
The Bible says we are created in the image of God. This image has been tainted by sin but not destroyed. Being conformed to the image of Christ through sanctification actually realigns us with God’s original plan for humanity.
Therefore, having our mind and behavior transformed through our relationship with Jesus Christ is actually restoring us to God’s original intent. The greatest pursuit that I should have in life should be my pursuit of Christ. That is what should occupy my thinking and influence my behavior.
When we live with a defeatist mindset, our focus is on our sin instead of on Christ. Consequently, we view ourselves through the lenses of a victim instead of a victor. This “woe is me” mindset has to change. Get your focus off of yourself and your sin and put your focus on Christ where it should be.
Don’t ignore your sin. Instead, confess it to God and repent. Confession means that you agree with what God says about your sin and repentance means you turn around and you go in the opposite direction. You turn from your sin and you turn to Christ. He becomes your focus. He captures your affection. You live for Him and not for yourself.
Put away the excuses and the low expectations. Live the life that God has called you to live. Work out what God has worked into your life (Philippians 2:12-13). It will require discipline and effort on your part, but through your relationship with Jesus Christ, you have what it takes.