“For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good.”
Lately I’ve been having some “if I” moments in my life. I love the TV show “The Biggest Loser” and wonder how, if I lost some weight, my knee might not hurt as much. But then I don’t change how I eat or exercise. Then I hear my friends talking about playing hoops on Saturday mornings and think that, if I try to play, I could get back into shape again. But then I never make the effort to try. My intentions are good, but my heart is not changing. What’s the deal?
In life, we all have experienced this at some point. As I looked at my own situations and searched the Bible for answers, I found that I could identify with several men who made similar “if I” statements. First, there is Moses: ”If I was a better speaker or communicator…” Next, there’s David: “If I wouldn’t have looked down on Bathsheba…” Then, there’s Peter: “If I think before I speak”— cock-a-doodle-doo! Obviously these are all paraphrases in my own words, but I do believe that these men and many others in Scripture had these “if I” moments in time. But, here’s the thing—they didn’t take up residence there. In each of these cases, these men did something about their issues and, in the strength of God, made changes.
Sometimes my personal “if I” moments hold me back. There are many days when I just don’t get myself! I will have a desire to change and be the man God desires me to be, but will wind up allowing those “if I” moments to turn into “I should have” or “why didn’t I” missed opportunities.
My wife is an amazing example to me. Since Christmas, she has lost almost 20 pounds! Personally, I don’t think she needed to lose any because she was already smoking hot, but she desired to change and went after it. Now, it has made a world of difference in her life and heart. The best part was that she did it through the Lord’s power. He helped her change. Now, she is an example of strength, courage and godly discipline.
Where my wife has achieved victory and I have fallen short, it comes down to a matter of surrender. For me—and I think this goes for a lot of us—I need to stop trying to make changes in my own strength, and submit to the power of the Holy Spirit instead. Any lasting change will be the result of His work in my heart and my willingness to say yes to Him.
Now, I don’t know what your “if I” moments are, but I know mine and you know yours. For all of us, though, it’s time to say enough is enough. With God’s strength, let’s surrender our “if I” situations to Him and let Him have His way and lead us to lasting change.
1. What are your “if I” issues?
2. Even if you know the right thing to do, why is it so hard for you to change?
3. Pray today that God’s strength will rise up in you to turn your “if I” into “we (God and I) did.”
2 Corinthians 13:3-5