Wednesday, August 23, 2006

heart change

In every type of situation requiring change of action, for that change to be permanent, a person has to change from within. Lasting change requires more than changing the outward, although sometimes this does work in reverse, if circumstances are thrust onto a person that are less than desirable or require a change in attitude to be palatable. The end result needs to be the same. I keep reading a similar thing, that it is not the eradication of affections that creates the climate for change, but the redirection. This requires an understanding of what is truly important. For change to happen in the first place, there must be an understanding that it is necessary, and that understanding comes from knowledge of the true condition of a person. If all this seems like semantic juggling, consider someone who obviously does wrong things, and calls them good, doesn't care, or has no problem with their own conscience. The general population usually has a law thrust upon them to deal with such things, but we all know if someone does not want to change, they will risk everything to continue in spite of the apparent greater good. At this moment I'm trying to understand what is necessary to help my son have such a change. He has no problem with a philosphy of life that does not value life (apparently). Most folks take this for granted, but if even a basic tenet of existence is thrown out, how do you help a person see what is true?

First of all, I realize that for myself, I need to see the truth. The truth that I embrace is God's truth as written in the scriptures. I believe it by faith, see it working experientially and intellectually realize it's great benefit to people. Nothing else makes sense to me. I, therefore, need to apply my own beliefs firstly to myself. I continue to read in James, and have seen that my affections often are far from what they need to be, and my focus is so often away from what is truly important. I need to put myself through the process of heart change before I can even begin to have the wisdom to help my son. James talks about desiring wrong things, and that that does proceed from within. You can't do right if you don't desire right first of all. He says the end result of this is strife and jealousy. All begins with belief and motivation. If you believe yourself to be more important than anyone or anything else, desire has no anchor. It is moved at the whim of a person's own fallible and selfish inner workings.

I wondered to myself, how can a person who wants to change but struggles to release wrong inner desires find help? One answer that James recommended surprised me. I've read the book many times but never realized how much importance is placed on this one thing, and that is the prayer of other people. James' prescription for change is confession to and prayer by other people who are seeing right and believing right. He says the prayer of righteous people is extremely powerful to bring about change, but I always associated that change with the outward, not the inward. Going to other people requires a strong desire to change and great humility. Pride and an overblown sense of self-importance are the roots of so much human evil. True heart change comes when we are ready to expose what is inside and subject it to truth.


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