The Necessity of Change
The Necessity of Change
“Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
We often attempt to solve spiritual problems with earthly solutions. Whether it is a struggle with addictions or a specific problem, we often assume that all we need to do is “clean up our act,” and everything will be okay. As a result, we are a culture addicted to self-help books. Global expenditures on self-help books are estimated to be 46 billion dollars this year. We often believe that the answer to our inner problems and struggles is found in man's wisdom and our ability to help ourselves. However, we soon discover that the problems are not solved and find ourselves in a more challenging crisis.
In this passage, Christ begins by condemning the religious leaders who desired a sign from heaven to prove the genuineness of Christ’s claim as the Messiah. But Christ quickly sees through their façade of feigned faith in him. They would have a sign that would be Christ's resurrection after his crucifixion, but even they would reject Christ. Like the religious leader, many people today refuse to accept the validity of Christ’s claim. They desire a sign, some proof, whether from science or other tangible source. But the problem is not the lack of substantiating evidence; the problem is the heart condition that refuses to accept what Christ already has done. We want physical proof for a spiritual reality. In their demand, they revealed that the problem was not in the physical evidence but in their spiritual faith.
Christ then points to an even deeper problem. The results will be ineffective when we seek to replace spiritual answers (faith) with human, earthly solutions (need for change and transformation). The point is that we cannot remain neutral on moral and spiritual issues. Human solutions to spiritual problems may provide temporary solutions, but they will still leave us open to the reality of sin. We are still open to the return of evil in our lives. The result will leave us empty, for sin will further entrench itself in our lives. While we can effect temporary change, there is no dynamic spiritual change. There is no new power within us to escape from the grip of sin returning. This was the problem of the religious leaders. They sought to obtain righteousness through their self-righteous acts. But such works do not bring about the change necessary.
Genuine and lasting change requires the complete transformation that comes through the Holy Spirit's work in our lives. The only lasting solution to humanity's problem is through the spiritual transformation in our relationship with Christ. Spiritual problems require spiritual solutions. We can read all the self-help books. We can search the internet for answers. We can try all the human solutions. Yet, in the end, we are still powerless against sin. But there is hope for when we surrender to Christ, he provides an eternal, spiritual solution, for he completely transforms us and empowers us to live a new life through the indwelling presence of Christ.
When you struggle with sin and find yourself at wit's end in solving your inner battles, the answer is not found in self-help books but by first recognizing your need for complete transformation. It comes when we surrender our life to Christ.