Tuesday, October 29, 2013

When you want bad people to be good

"I know in my head what I am supposed to do.  The only thing is that in my heart I still want to do what I have always done." (Cypress House resident, Oct 2013)

She summed it all up in a nutshell.  Her words echoed what Apostle Paul said to the Romans all those years ago:

 For I do not do the good I want to do, 
but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 
Romans 7:19

We are faced with this reality daily with the teenagers we work with.  We see them gain knowledge and learn to make the right choices.  But often, when returning home to the former environment...well, Romans 7:19

I heard a sermon on the radio the other week from Erwin Lutzer.  There was a portion of his message that I was just nodding my head to, saying "yes" over and over again (good thing I was in the car by myself).  He didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know, but it was good to hear it from someone else.

A few of the high points (my summary, emphasis mine):

Only God can turn bad people into good people.

"...All these behavior modification programs out there showing people how to behave, how to make right choices.  But we are creatures bent toward desire.  We follow our desires.  And unless our desires change and align with who God is, then all our "learning of behavior" will be for nothing.  Because we have to desire to do the right behavior.  It can't just be head knowledge.  It's got to reach to the heart..."

...and only God works in the heart for good.

Pray for people that they might be healed, but only God can take a bad man and make him good.

Behavior modification – you can say "here's why this isn’t good"

But in the end when the guy has freedom he does what he wants to do because his desires remain unchanged.

To change desire is well nigh impossible and humans are desire driven

Where do you get this change of desire?

Only God can do that change.  To take a bad man and make him good is a miraculous work.  That is God at his best

When he saves sinners like you and me, it’s God at his best.
 Such a good reminder for me.  We can want people to change, show them how to change, but unless they desire something different, they will continue to do what they do.

Their core desire needs to change, and only that can come from God. 

A great reminder for myself.  Do my desires line up with God's desires?  Good question....

Do yours?

1 comment:

  1. Girl! This is a truth I so needed to hear today. Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you. I love Christian community!