So my job (which I am convinced I can speak sparingly about on this blog!) puts me face to face with welfare recipients in the state of Kentucky on a daily basis. Certainly an interesting lot of people, but just as interesting as every lot of people who walk the Earth. In thinking about moving individuals from welfare to work, one phrase that we often toss around is, “You know, people have to want to change. You can’t make them.”
We notice that people have to WANT to change before they ACTUALLY change. The question that naturally follows is, “Where do you get the want?”
I can’t speak for this temporal impotence of what makes people change their behaviors or life course. I’m no psycho-analyst or anthropologist. Why do people suddenly drop the Twinkies and begin workout regimes? Why do college kids suddenly move from Friday night parties to Wednesday study sessions? Environmental impulses? Internal desires? External pressures? Who knows. I’m curious about extending this implication to the deepest core of our human souls.
What causes a man (or woman, spare me the political correctness lol) to stop running from God and start seeking Him? In this instance, the turning point is very easy to spot: God the Father.
Colossians 1:21-23 says “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (ESV) Ephesians 1:8 says that the Lord “lavished” grace upon us – it was something freely bestowed and graciously poured out. Our heart changes, and therefore our life changes, only come from Jesus’ finished work on the cross which was imparted.
So, the want to change MUST be given by He who created all things, including change itself, in the first place.
For more reading on this subject, I would highly recommend you read this blog from a guy with a lot of knowledge that I am honored to learn from every day. The post I’ve linked specifically deals with the doctrine of Atonement and really tackles the “Where do you get the want?” question.