This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent countless years of my life trying to make myself into a better person. My biggest struggle was always with pornography, and my typical approach to fixing it was a combination of willpower and filter software—neither of which worked for very long. I’d look at my addiction and think life will only get better if I somehow fix this part of me. Or worse, God will only love me if I change. Unfortunately, no matter what I did, I never could change for the better.
Now this may surprise you, but since I’ve found freedom from porn I’ve come to believe that God wasn’t all that interested in changing me during those years of my addiction. Before anyone get’s all spun up about that, let me explain what I mean.
I grew up in the church and trusted Christ very early in life. Which means, according to this verse, God had already changed me into a new person years before I ever got hooked on porn. But if that’s truly the case, why did I struggle so much with sin (and, to be honest, still do at times)?
The answer, I believe, is that I’d never been taught the truth about how I had already been changed. I didn’t realize that I had been given a new heart with new desires (Ezekiel 36:26). I didn’t understand what it meant to have the Holy Spirit living inside of me, empowering me to resist temptation (1 Corinthians 6:18-19). I had no idea that God had given me access to His wisdom and had already set me from the power of sin (1 Corinthians 1:30). I had all the tools and resources of the Kingdom available, but never realized they were mine to use.
The question I should have been asking during the years of my addiction wasn’t “What do I need to do to change myself for the better?” It should have been “How do I get to live my life now that God has already changed me?” Once I began focusing on what God had already done in me rather than what I could do for myself, that’s when I began to experience freedom from my addiction. Life was no longer about becoming someone new, it was about maturing into who God says I already am.
I’ll be honest though, there are still days where it doesn’t feel like I’ve been changed. But I’ve discovered that whenever I wait for something to feel true before I’m willing to trust it, I never experience it. If, however, I choose to believe what God says is true about me regardless of whether it feels true, then the feelings inevitably come. Trusting that God has already changed me, regardless of my feelings, is what allows me to live my life as if He has.
In the same way, if you’ve trusted Christ, you can trust that God has already made you a new person as well.
So remember, God isn’t interested in changing you.
Because He already has.