“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.”
In the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21: 28-32), when the father asked the first son to do something, he first said that he would not, but later “he changed his mind and went”.
As Christians, we are familiar with the struggle between the Spirit and the flesh. And many feel defeated and even despair after struggling and failing many many times over in the battle with some stubborn or “deep” sin, such as an addiction. It is understandable why they might feel this way. The snare is very real, the convicting of sin is very real, the remorse, the guilt, the shame, the pain, the deep cry, the anguish…they all seem too real for our souls to bear. But this passage brings us great hope because unlike how we might be feeling, in Christ, we are Capable of changing our mind and doing what pleases our Father in heaven.
The Lord knows the consequence of sin, as he terms it himself, “when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17) – the penalty of sin is death, but he also knows it’s impossible for us humans to be freed from sin’s bondage by ourselves. That’s why He has promised from the very beginning of human history to bring us a Savior, who will “crush the serpent’s head” and free us from sin. (Genesis 3:15) This Savior sent by God in his mercy and grace for his people is Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life (what we can never do) on earth on our behalf, and he died on the cross to wash away our sins, so that we will become as white as snow, blameless before the Holy King when we put our faith in Christ. Not only that, after he ascended to heaven, he sent His Holy Spirit to live in us, so that He will empower us to do what pleases the Lord – he is the One who changes our mind to do the right thing.
So when you feel so burdened in your struggle, in your fight, on your own strength, pause and pray, and ask the Holy Spirit who literally lives within you to help you “change your mind and do what pleases God” (that is part of his “job description”), and surrender…Surrender your sin, surrender your fight, surrender your guilt, your shame, your fear, your anger, your unspeakable pain and despair – remember, Jesus’ precious blood has washed away all your sins, when you ask for his forgiveness each time you are convicted of your sin, he is faithful to forgive you. And just let God do what He has promised to do: to renew your mind, to transform you, but you have to allow Him to do just that (Romans 12:2). Then when He moves you, which he certainly and definitely will, just follow him, follow Christ, as he has lived and modeled a holy life for you. When God moves you in your wilderness, it won’t be easy, but it will be much easier than moving yourself without God, as you have tried for so long.
Trust and know that the Lord is good. And because of His mercy and preseverance, you can and will persevere to the end.
[Feel free to send me a prayer request through the ‘contact’ page if you would like me to pray for you on any particular struggle(s). I might be able to reply to all messages, but know that I will stand with you and be praying for you.]