For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly. Proverbs 5:23
Mostly people don’t lack instruction. There is enough advertising to promote good eating, regular exercise and healthy living, yet we do lack discipline. Teachers, police, politicians and others who desire to change behaviour think that education will fix the problem. But the truth is knowing the right thing doesn’t mean we do it.
So often we’re led astray by instant gratification and don’t consider the long-term effects of our actions. Our lack of discipline leads us to make poor choices. If we desire lasting change, it’s our motives that will change before our actions. The ‘why’ we do something is a more powerful stimulus than logically understanding the benefits.
The history of the Jewish people demonstrated that they weren’t able to follow God’s instruction despite all the blessing God promised if they did, or the curses they would endure if they didn’t. Knowing the right thing isn’t enough to change behaviour.
Ultimately God told his people: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts” (Jeremiah 31:33). Deep change comes from God changing our hearts and minds. We’re changed from the inside out and this is what Jesus came to do. He lived, died and rose again so he could indwell us by his Holy Spirit and lead us in his ways.
Churches use different words to describe the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Some call it the unction of the Holy Spirit, some call it his anointing, others simply call it God’s enabling. God’s Spirit will strengthen and empower us to make good choices. The question is do we want this? Will we allow him to bring change into our life?