If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Most of us are interested in change. Bestseller lists perennially include self-help books, and the New York Times even has specific categories for Hardcover Advice and Softcover Advice books. We attend seminars and read books and try diets and listen to tapes.
Moreover, God wants us to change. A life that is never willing to change is a great tragedy—a wasted life. Change is a necessary part of a growing life, and we need change in order to remain fresh and to keep progressing.
But often the new ideas we gain from books or seminars just don’t seem to last. Maybe we will be different for a while, but then discover that the new methods do not have a permanent effect. The main reason for this is that we work on the exterior, our outside behavior, instead of on the interior, our motives. Any lasting change must begin on the inside, and that is a work of God.
In the story of Jacob we can see the process God uses in helping us become the kind of person we have always wanted to be. The situation recorded in Genesis 32 was a turning point for Jacob and serves as a dramatic example of how God can change us.
THE FOUR-STEP PROCESS
Jacob was a somewhat shifty fellow. Even his name means “cheater” or “schemer” in Hebrew. But a life-changing experience transformed him into a new person, and he became Israel, the man after whom the entire nation of Israel was later named. After that experience Jacob was never the same again.
In this story we have a clear expression of the four-step process God uses to help us become the kind of people we want to be. It is a truly encouraging message—a message that says we don’t have to stay in the rut we are in, that God will help us to change, to overcome that weakness or sore spot in our life. We just have to let him. So how do we let God do that?
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Rick Warren’s book, God’s Answer to Life’s Difficult Questions.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
How to Cope with Stress
How Can I Rebound from Failure?
How Can I Defeat Depression?
How Can I Live Above Average?
How Can I Have Peace of Mind?
How Can I Handle Discouragement?
How Can I Overcome My Problems?
How Can I Be Confident In a Crisis?
How Can I Ever Change?
How Did I Get Myself in To This Mess?
How Can I Overcome Loneliness?
Why Is This Happening to Me?