Truth #2 – Only I can change me; I can only change me. And only with God’s help.
Note how Paul instructed the Romans in 12:2b (NIV):
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
This transformation wasn’t some partial experience. In Greek, this was metamorphoō, where we get our word metamorphosis, the absolute change that occurs when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
I’m not sure who first said it, but there’s wisdom in the old axiom, “If it’s to be, it begins with me.” But this only captures a narrow facet of the truth here. Indeed, I will be the sole catalyst of change in my life. That’s why Paul wrote that the process begins in our heads. We must accept the responsibility for ourselves and determine to change. We must commit to change. Only I can change me.
God’s not into spiritual rape, so He won’t force change onto me, so I still have a role to play. He won’t change me if I’m not willing. But I won’t truly change unless I’m empowered by Him.
However, we must also recognize our limitations, and this leads to the rest of this Healthy Truth.
First, our catalytic nature extends no further than ourselves. We may wield influence with others, but ultimately they are responsible for themselves just as we are responsible for ourselves. We cannot make anyone else change, and any attempt to assume that mantle of responsibility will result in defeat and disappointment. Their mind must be renewed on order for them to be transformed, and the more we vainly (and arrogantly) take on this impossible burden, the less capacity we have to address our own transformation.
We need to recognize this aspect of this truth as fully as the first because most successful fitness endeavors are reached with some form of mutual accountability, often taking the form of workout partners or personal trainers. The camaraderie and relational challenge can give us the little motivational boost we need at times (see Truth #11), and statistics clearly depict how huge of a difference such things make. However, we must be sure to remember that it is our presence and our relationship that exerts this influence, not any personal responsibility on our part.
We can’t change others; our authority only extends to ourselves.
So if we plunge into such an arrangement, we can’t invest so heavily into the other person that we fail to properly invest in ourselves. On a practical level, if I spend half of my hour-long workout time trying to call my workout partner to ask where he is, I’m not helping either of us. I can only change me.
Conversely, I can’t truly change me. I can make changes to my behaviors, my thoughts, and my habits, but this transformation that comes from the renewal of the mind? That comes from God. He’s not into spiritual rape, so He won’t force it onto me, so I still have a role to play. He won’t change me if I’m not willing. But I won’t truly change unless I’m empowered by Him. We have to always keep that in mind. Only with God’s help.
Originally posted 2016-01-08 08:00:17.