May 26, 2016

Why Is Spiritual Change so Hard?

Luke 5:17-26

“Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”

—  Luke 5:23

I read an article about why change is so difficult for many people. The author explained that most people fail “to distinguish between technical change and adaptive change. A technical change is straightforward: you have the resources and skills to fix something, so you fix it. An adaptive change is much more difficult. . . . Adaptive change involves soul-searching, learning, and changing who we are and how we live. Why is change so difficult? Because most significant change is adaptive. . . . It involves changing us” (adapted from The Banner, May 2014).

People had flocked to a home where Jesus was teaching. Likely most of them were not looking for the deep change that meant adapting their lives to serve Jesus as Lord. But they were about to witness something they never expected—a total overhaul of life. This is what Jesus proclaimed to a packed house of onlookers, religious teachers, a desperate man, and his friends.

The man on the mat was looking for physical healing. He probably never thought Jesus would be interested in healing his sin-sick soul. But that’s what everyone needed to hear: “Your sins are forgiven.” 

Spiritual change is hard! But it takes place when grace sur­prises and shocks us to praise and thank the Jesus we really need.

What kind of change you are seeking from Jesus?  

Lord, I need deep change. Help me accept your forgiveness as the first step toward the change you really want for me. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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