Lord, Only You Can Change Me

“Why? Why did I do it again?  Why do I fail You every time?” It seems that those words have filled my prayers more often than not.  I thought I was strong in one area, only to give in to temptation as soon as it tipped its cap my direction.  Frustration and tears were my constant companions during my time with God in the morning.  The condemning words of John 14:15 rang in my ears:  “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”  Did I really love God at all?

The doubt that crept into my soul was not conviction, though at the time that is what I considered it to be.  My guilt over sin brought me to repentance, but the fact that I failed in those areas again caused me to wonder if I had really been sorry in the first place.  Yet I knew in my heart that I hated the sin — and that I had truly repented to God.  I would be fine… until the temptation came again and I gave in. 

Guilt leads to repentance, but my failure and consequential remorse never seemed to go away.  I was in a circle of fail-repent-doubt-fail that never seemed to end.  It wasn’t until I read the words of Hannah Whitall Smith, in her book The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, that I understood where I was going wrong in my relationship with God. 

Hannah Smith wrote an entire chapter on ‘Failure’, and as I read it, I was astounded at what I read.  Failure will come, she said, and when it does, repent in earnest and then get up.  “But isn’t that impertinent?” I wondered to myself.  Hannah confronted that thought right away with an illustration:

If you were a mother, and you had a daughter who disobeyed you but came to you repentant of her deed, would you not forgive her?  Then when you had forgiven her earnest repentance, what would you think if sat on the sofa, still crying, because she didn’t believe you had really forgiven her?  Her lack of faith would be the cause of her own pain. 

The only way to conquer, Hannah wrote, is to “get up off your face” and walk in victory.  Christ has promised if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness (1 Jn. 1:9).  In my quest to not be “impertinent” I was slapping the face of the God who forgave me when I asked.  In my hopes to avoid “ungratefulness” I doubted the sacrifice He made on the cross.

The root of my problem, then, was striving to change myself into the image of God. I was doing things on my own, even though it seemed that I was doing them for God.  I missed the entire point of repentance to God:  He will change me, if I believe Him.  That is true surrender.  That is a repentant heart.

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7 Responses

  1. Yes indeed that situation can cause many heartaches but God has shown me that he loves me period,and when he chose me and called me he knew about all the areas in my life that would not please him but yet he loves me.And that has given me such freedom “whew” and a peace I cannot describe,like if we’re to forgive each other and make room for them to and slip slide until they grow up then what about us,it works for us also.Change only comes when God gets ready and through all our crying & heartache thank God for change does come.I truly enjoyed your post,have a good day.
    Love in Christ Pat

  2. I think you were reading my mind when you wrote this! I am dealing with those same issues that you wrote about, and I didn’t know what to do. The mother daughter scenario helped me to understand that I should never doubt God when I have prayed for forgiveness. This was true insight for me, Thank You. Oh! and thanks for commenting on my blog. I like when people comment!

    God Bless ^^

    Jamaican Princess.

  3. I know this vicious cycle by heart. As a Christian woman, I want so desperately to be more like Christ. But when I fail, and fail repeatedly, I berate myself to the point that even though God has forgiven me, I have not forgiven myself. It is my own lack of forgiveness that hinders my growth. God is faithful & just to forgive our sins.

    There is a lot of wisdom in this post. Thank you!

  4. Hi Phylicia! Found you through Internet Cafe’ Devotions! My, your site looks mighty familiar! 😉 It’s nice to meet you! I know you will bless and be blessed through cafe’ devotions!

  5. Hey Phylicia! I enjoyed reading this post, because I had to learn the same thing myself. It’s hard for me to let things go, even after I’ve asked forgiveness from the Lord, but I’ve learned that I have to. The Lord has removed my sin as far away as the east is from the west after I’ve confessed it, and it’s not right to keep taking it back by continually beating myself up over my old sin. I need to focus more on doing better the next time the same tempatation comes – that’s the way to show that I’m truly sorry. Oh, so much easier said than done . . .
    Thanks for the post!
    -Callie

  6. Phylicia,Touching post.much memories came to me while reading.Struggling to live righteous is the burden that every penitent soul must face some time or the other.
    The earlier we realize what the good fight of faith is the less pain and guilt we will suffer.Christ died for our sins and He also through his death give us the power to overcome the sinful life. I have learned not to fight the sins they,tire us out discourage us . It is in our nature to sin our very genes breath sin.The encouraging part now.If we could somehow keep our hearts our minds fixed on Christ we cannot sin. . here what he says: 2 Peter 1 :4 We get the Romans 6:16,18,22. Only trough the power of Christ can we overcome any temptation. Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

    I noticed that when i listen and obey to the voice that speak to me moments before a fall i come out victorious . My fight now is to be obedient to the voice(Holy spirit) when he warns .
    Example is this when we face with a temptation we make a conscious decision to submit to the temptation by saying “God i want to do this let me check you back ,am willing to separate my self from you just a second to enjoy what ever them i will check you later” . Thats what we do.
    But if we are Obedient to the voice that says “hey no to go down that road” then we will be victorious 100% of the time .
    But para venture we fall he says IF you sin !john 2:1 we have an advocate.

    I john 3:9, We don’t have to . We cannot if Christ is in us .

    🙂 the overcoming power is available to us all we can live like Enoch,Like Job. YES WE CAN.

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