Why Don’t People Change?
I am coming back to another question that routinely bothers me: why don’t people ever change? Sometimes people will experience a huge change when they become Christians, but then after that things just flat line. Whatever you’re like after you’ve been a Christian for a year is pretty much how you’ll be for the rest of your life. So if you suck, well, you’re pretty much doomed to suck forever.
Many of my friends would blame the people. But my first inclination is to blame the system. Isn’t Christianity supposed to transform lives? And it does. But then it stops. Why? What happens? Is there something we’ve missed? Dallas Willard and Richard Foster would say we need the spiritual disciplines. Perhaps that’s the problem. But doesn’t it seem like it ought to be more clear in scripture what is missing?
I am writing right now out of frustration with myself. Anytime I score myself on different character issues, I always score low in self-discipline. Always. I’m average to excellent on everything else, but self-discipline always gets me. I had to take a character and personality assessment for seminary and they scored me in about fifteen different areas. For self-discipline, on a scale of 1 to 10, I scored a 1. A ONE! Now I would put myself at a four, or maybe a three, but a ONE!? I can only hope that the scale is skewed because seminary students tend to score higher than the average population.
When I was going through the answers with the counselor they assigned, I asked him the question: How do you get self-discipline without self-discipline? It seems like you need some in order to get some. He laughed. I didn’t really mean it as a joke.
I’m thinking that the difference between new Christians and older Christians is that new Christians realize how far they are from God’s standard, and constantly pray for better character. Older Christians usually blow that off. So I’m thinking that’s the answer. I’ve been praying recently for godly character. I just didn’t want to have to actually change…