A Prayer for When Change Seems Impossible
By Ashley Moore
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” – 2 Peter 1:3, NLT
Something about transitioning to a new year drives people to reflect on the past and ponder ways to improve the future. We see it in businesses as they examine their last quarter and make new goals for the next four quarters. Family’s examine their rhythms and commitments and make decisions about what they want to keep or change moving forward. And people personally inspect their health and fitness levels and make plans for personal growth for the upcoming year.
What typically happens next, though, can be rather disappointing. We start strong with the momentum of transition and ride the high of new habits and routines. But it doesn’t take long before employees get swamped maintaining rather than advancing the business, the family calendar gets overtaken by the kid’s sports and church commitments, and our sneakers and dumbbells begin to collect dust.
Lasting change can feel impossible sometimes, can’t it? It only adds to our discouragement when we fail to meet our goals, keep our promises, or honor our commitments.
Change can begin to seem futile. This is a dangerous mindset for the believer. When we doubt that change is possible, we can grow cynical. Our cynicism can breed hopelessness about our situations and whether others will ever be capable of making the greatest change–turning from their sin and following Jesus.
We fall prey to a lie that true and lasting change depends only on our ability, convincing ourselves we aren’t capable. Have you ever been there?
This is why I have so much love for Peter’s words from our key verse. Peter lived the reality of this human experience, this tension of desiring change and wanting to live a fruitful life but not quite hitting the mark. To put it the way Jesus said in another reminder to our friend Peter, our spirits are willing, but our flesh is oh so weak (Matthew 26:41).
Peter was this headstrong disciple who was utterly convinced he was going to prevent Christ from being crucified (Matthew 16:22). Jesus, coincidentally, called him Satan and rebuked him for this (Matthew 16:23). He was also the disciple who claimed to Jesus that if everyone else abandoned him, he would be willing to go to prison and die for him (John 22:33-34). Still not quite understanding Jesus’ plan for salvation in an ill-fitting attempt to protect Jesus, Peter sliced off the ear of one of the High Priest’s servants (John 18:10). Finally, as Christ was taken to be crucified, just as he said he would never do, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times (Luke 22:57-60).
But, we see from his writings in 2 Peter that people can change. Peter finally acknowledged and accepted that the power to change and live anything that remotely resembles a Christ-like life comes from God’s divine power, not our own.
And we need that reminder as we seek to make changes in the new year, too. Our strength, grit, and sheer will won’t be enough to make lasting changes. God has given us everything we need to live a changed life, a life that is pleasing to Him. And we received this by coming to know Him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, change, true change that brings glory to God, is possible.
Thank you for giving your people a desire to make positive changes. We know every good thing about us is a gift from you. I pray that as we look to make changes in the new year, we would do so from a heart motivation of bringing glory to you. Lord, forgive us when that is not our motivation. But Lord, we also pray that as we seek to change, we would remember and depend on your spirit for power and not the power of our fleshly, faulty self-will. Lord, thank you that you’ve equipped us with everything we need to live a godly life this year and forever! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Cn0ra
Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn’t writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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