One reason why it’s so hard to change is because we hold onto something else that prevents us from changing. It could be bitterness, the world, comfort, or any number of things. Paul had one of the most dramatic changes in the Bible and he did it by letting go of everything for the sake of knowing God.
- Philippians 3 (AMP)
- Acts 9, Acts 21, Acts 26
Why Change Is Hard
Change is hard because of the things we hold on to.
Read Philippians 3 in the Amplified version of the Bible.
Saul could have held really tight onto all of his achievements as a Jew, but he was able to let go because he wanted to pursue something worth so much more. A relationship with God is so transformative because it gives you the power to sacrifice things that aren’t worth as much.
Having humility is a huge part of change because it opens you up to influence.
Read Acts 9.
Saul had a lot of really humbling things happen to him in this passage. He was blinded, he was led, someone who he wanted to kill helped him, and even when he changed, he still had to face the consequences of his sin when everyone was afraid of him. This is a guy who saw Stephen preach in Acts 7 and became even more stubborn. It’s not just a great message that leads to change. Ananias’ message was fairly simple compared to Stephen’s but the difference was humility.
When you’re humble it doesn’t take much argument to accept change.
Read Acts 22.
In this version of Saul’s conversion you get his perspective of the experience of going through change. It reveals the dialog he had with the Lord. You can see that he asked questions to gain understanding, not to be defensive, proud, or self-piteous. He also doesn’t talk about any conversation with Ananias. The main influence he had to accept wasn’t from a man, but from God.
When God changes you it’s the purpose of loving people that motivates you.
Read Acts 26.
This account of Saul’s change is the exciting because it reveals the purpose behind it. It reveals that God picked Saul for a specific purpose with a vision in mind. Saul bought into that vision and it undoubtedly motivated him to change. So much so that in order to try and change King Agrippa, Saul attempts to appeal to him by saying “And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven.”
When you’re serious about change you share it with others.
Paul shared his change with many other people in many different ways. He didn’t do it to boast, but to influence others to change. It wasn’t just about his purpose. When God really changes you, you get a conviction about others making the same change that you do. That’s what makes you share it. Paul always called others to follow his example.
● What are you holding on to that keeps you from changing?
● What circumstances are humbling you now to open you up to influence? Influence from whom? Are you letting the circumstances humble you?
● What scriptures have you resisted obeying?
● Why does God want you to change?
● Who can you share your progress and struggles in changing with?
Pray everyday about what you can learn from yesterday, and what you can do differently today.