Source and Power of Change
I recently read a passage in a book by Niel L. Anderson, The Divine Gift of Forgiveness. As a teenager, he was helping a friend who was trying to change. He explained some steps of repentance — “willpower, choosing the right friends, not getting in certain situations, and being able to say no.”
If he were talking with her now, Elder Anderson said “I would speak less to her about the steps that would be required for repentance, and much more about the source and power of her ability to change, to repent, and to be forgiven. I would speak to her about her faith in Jesus Christ.” (page 98 – 99).
I’m bad at changing myself
I’m glad Christ is the source and power of our ability to change, because I’m not very good at it on my own. Several scriptures come to mind that seem to affirm this:
“Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white…”3 Nephi 12:36
“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”3 Nephi 13:27
“For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God.”Jeremiah 2:22
Christ wants to make us like Him
I don’t know exactly how, or why, or how quickly it works, but I believe the changes Christ intends to make in us come when we trust His will more than our own. C.S. Lewis put it this way:
“Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked — the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.'”Mere Christianity, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, p. 169.
I saw HWN over the past couple weeks as I pondered on these ideas. I’ve felt more hopeful about myself and my future as I try to trust that God will change me into what He wants me to be.
p.s. I enjoyed visiting Shenandoah National Park with some friends recently.