Why Christians Don't Change


[A response to an email]  

The reason (I believe) why so many Christians confess that they cannot change themselves, and also confess that only God can do it, and yet rarely ever change, is because they simply do not love and submit to the Light of Christ in its first and smallest manifestations. I didn't understand this (not distinctly or accurately) when I wrote my books several years ago. And that is why I haven't printed them for 7 or 8 years. Understanding all mysteries, and having spiritual sight into the great works of God and the depths of Scripture truths WITHOUT a perfect heart-submission and obedience to the present manifestation of His light, will never change you, and very often will only make you an enlightened hypocrite.

Let me explain what I mean. Christ has a nature, and that nature is perfect holiness, cleanness, kindness, selfless love, and goodness. When that nature begins to “appear” or “shine” in the heart of man (which it usually does when we are children, though we have no comprehension of its source) it always brings an inward sense or sight of things in us that are contrary to it. A little of His righteousness shines in the heart, and in the light and sense of it, we see something of our unrighteousness... perhaps in something we said, or did, or thought, or a desire that we entertained, a way we sought our own will, etc. These are what people call “little things” and we do not believe (or hear anybody tell us) that this awareness of sin, this consciousness of a contrary nature in us, is something that we should pay much attention to. In fact, when we are children we are very often told and shown by example that we shouldn't let ourselves feel guilty, we don't need to be ashamed. We can follow the outward dictates of our family and friends, our society, what we see on TV, etc. rather than pay attention to this little disquieting feeling that we have when we act selfishly, or when we twist the truth a bit, or when we manipulate others, or when we pass our precious time entertaining ourselves with TV and other worldly vanity. But let me ask you, where does this sense of disquiet, shame, reproof or correction come from? Does it come from your fallen and wicked flesh? Is flesh reproving itself? Does it come from the enemy of our souls? Is Satan dividing his kingdom against itself? This, I believe you know, is certainly not the case.

Let's let Paul answer the question. Ephesians 5:13 “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” (I quoted the KJV here because it maintains the correct Greek word “reproveable”, whereas some translations change it to “exposed”.) What does Christ say about this? John 3:19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” Or John 16:8 “And when He (the Spirit of Truth) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Here are several Scriptures (among many others) that tell us plainly that that which reproves us in secret, and which the natural man “hates” to see and feel because it shows us that our deeds are evil, is the very light of Christ, or the Spirit of Truth shining in our inner man. It is not (as some say) a “natural conscience”. The conscience is a very wonderful gift of God, but Paul says it can be seared with a hot iron and defiled. No, it is not the conscience itself, but the Light of Christ that shines IN the conscience, that causes us to see and feel the things in us that are contrary to His nature.

And what I'm trying to get at, is that it is precisely because we ignore this appearing of Christ's nature within us, because we turn from it so that we don't have to look at the true source and nature of our thoughts, desires and actions, because we make excuses for our evil, for our own will, for our vain pastimes, for our irritation and anger, etc...... it is for this very reason that we quench and grieve the Spirit of God at its very first arising within us. It's easy to kill an oak tree when it is only 2 inches tall. A chipmunk can do it. A 2 year old can step on it, and that's it. In the same way, when we grieve and quench the appearing and rising of the Seed of Christ in our hearts in its first appearing, “despising the day of small things,” then we are more and more left to our own carnal sight, reasoning, and self-justifying... still living in the flesh, living in our own will, and never knowing or experiencing what this Spirit can (and would) do if we only submitted to it and loved it and bent our will in subjection to it in its first and smallest appearances.

Then we (as Christians) feel that nothing is really changing in us, and we know there MUST be a problem. And so we read more books, and memorize good quotes, and chase conferences and commentaries, hoping to find the missing part. But the missing part is the same thing it has always been, from the very beginning of the world.... it is hating the light that shows us everything in us that is fallen from, and contrary to, the perfect and pure and good life of Jesus Christ. Or in the words of Stephen in Acts 7, it is because “we always resist the Holy Spirit.”

You have no doubt experienced how sin has a snowball-like nature. I mean, it gets bigger, heavier, and stronger the more it rolls along in its own direction. Things that weren't very tempting to you at one point, when they are indulged in, become stronger desires, put down deeper roots, and have more sway over you. What felt kinda wrong when we started doing it, stops feeling wrong after we've developed the habit of doing it. The habit of sin takes away our sensitivity to sin, and it spreads like leaven in the heart. Well the same thing is true of grace, or the power of God that comes from above to redeem and save. Grace also has a snowball effect in the soul. As the soul submits to the teachings and empowerings of grace, then grace gets bigger, stronger, and heavier in our hearts. We grow strong in the grace of Christ, though we start out very weak. Nearly all of the parables of Christ describe the increase of His power or kingdom in the heart of man in this way. It starts as a pinch of leaven in three lumps of bread. It starts as a small talent or mina that is intended to increase. It starts as a mustard seed, a small pearl, a treasure hidden in a field, a seed scattered on all sorts of ground, etc. But does it automatically and immediately bring forth life and fruit? You know it doesn't. Not even in the parables. But what it DOES immediately begin to do is show itself in us in a variety of “appearances” that manifest both its pure nature, and our contrariness to it (in thought, desire, word, and deed). IF we “love His appearing” (2 Tim 4:8), if we love the light that shows us our true condition, if we take its side against our own flesh, sin, selfishness, pride, vanity, worldliness, etc., and follow where it leads, then it's power in us gets stronger, and we find that He who is in us really is stronger than he who is in the world. HERE is where we begin to feel and to experience how the implanted Word is able to save our souls. Here we feel how power is given to Christ to put all of His enemies under His feet.... in us. Here we are baptized into the death of Christ (truly and experientially... experiencing that fire that purges the threshing floor), and are raised with Him into newness of life.

People often say, “I know I'm supposed to die to sin and live in the Spirit. But how in the world do I do that?” The answer is simpler than we think. The only thing man needs to do is to continually submit in humility, meekness, and resignation to the living Power of Christ that visits us in His light, shows us the nature of God, and empowers us to follow Him with all of our heart. All begins with light in the heart. The old creation began with “let there be light”, and so does the new creation in Christ. The light shines in the darkness, but men do not receive it. They talk about it. They sing about it. They study the Greek and Hebrew meanings of the word, but they don't love it, because it tells them that their deeds are evil, that their hearts are evil, that “every intent of the thoughts of their heart is only evil continually.” (Gen 6:5) This is what arose in my heart to say to you: the reason why people don't change, is because they don't really love His light. They love His words, they love His stories, they love their ideas about Him, but that nagging light that shows them the true condition of their hearts, THAT they won't love, believe or follow.

Now, though the solution is simple, the following of it is hard. I mean, the solution is not complicated or confusing or hard to understand, but it's hard to DO because we love our lives in the flesh. In order to follow Christ and experience this change, you need to be willing to “deny yourself, pick up your cross daily, and follow Him.”