I would lie in bed, tossing and turning, thoughts churning around my head. No matter how hard I tried, how much I wanted to, I never seemed to be able to behave as I intended. Every night I looked back on the day with regret.
Why had I said the very thing that I knew would be hurtful to the others, and had decided not to say? Why did I get irritated with someone over something small? Why did I always think about myself and never seem to notice how my actions affected other people? Why couldn’t I be one of those nice, kind, caring people that I saw around me, that I really wanted to be?
Wanting to do the good
I always wanted to be “good.” As a child it seemed easy – I did what I was told and always tried to behave as I thought I was expected to. But as I grew older this became harder. I had to start making decisions for myself and to try to understand for myself what the “right” behaviour was. I began to see how self-centered I was; how often I made decisions to suit myself, and how little I thought about other people.
I had read in the Bible what love should be like: “Love suffers long and is kind… does not seek its own, is not provoked… Love never fails” (1 Cor. 13 v 4,5 & 8). I would make resolutions about being more caring or about not getting irritated, but somehow when it came to it, I failed. I realised that I was actually not capable of being truly good, because my human nature dictated something else. As it says in John 8:34 and Romans 7:18-23, I was a “slave of sin”.
A total transformation
In desperation I started reading in the Bible, looking for help. My Christian life had to become real, where it mattered, or it would just be meaningless. I read that I was to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Roman 12:2) So that was what was needed: a total transformation: a real change – to become a new person! As I searched the scriptures, I became convinced that this was possible – I could be changed!
Now, when I find myself in a temptation, for example to get upset or irritated, I pray to God to help me here and now. Making the right choice is impossible without God’s help. Part of me (my flesh) wants to get irritated because I have a “right to,” in “this circumstance”. But I know getting irritated, even if I have a “right” to, just makes me unhappy, and I want to be free. With God’s help, I am becoming a different person than I would have been if I’d just followed my own inclinations; I have totally new reactions. I am “being transformed”!
I am in a process of becoming a new person. For lasting help, there is no doubt in my mind that I have needed and will always need Jesus’ power and the guidance that the Bible gives to be completely transformed, so that I am truly good, not just act “politely good” on the surface.