Summary: Practical steps on how to change.


A young soldier and his commanding officer were traveling by train in western Europe in the late 1800’s. By chance an elderly grandmother and her young and pretty granddaughter got on the train and sat down with the two military men. As they engaged in pleasant conversation, the soldier and the young lady kept eyeing one another and it was obvious that an attraction had developed between them. Suddenly as the train rounded a curve they entered into a long dark tunnel pitching the car into darkness. Virtually immediately there were two sounds heard. One was the “smack” of a kiss, the other the “whack” of a slap across the face. The grandmother immediately thought, “ I cannot believe he kissed my granddaughter, but I am sure glad she had the audacity to slap him for it.” The commanding officer thought, “ I don’t blame the boy for kissing that pretty young girl, but it is a shame that she missed his face and slapped mine.” The young girl thought, “I am glad he kissed me, I just wish grandmother had not slapped him.” As the train broke in to the sunshine from out of the tunnel the young soldier boy could not wipe the grin off his face. He had just seized the opportunity of a lifetime. He had kissed a beautiful young lady and slapped his commanding officer across the face at the same time. Best of all he had gotten away with both.

I believe in seizing opportunities and today is a great opportunity to learn some things

about how to change and apply them to your life.

Ever find yourself saying Gosh I hate this part of my life, or I wish I could change this. Ever been frustrated and asked yourself why do I keep doing this? You say to yourself I hate this but I keep doing it. I’ve got three points today that will help you to understand why it’s so difficult to change and the solution to it all.


Rom 7:14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Rom 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Rom 7:16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

Rom 7:17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

Rom 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Rom 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Rom 7:20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Rom 7:21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. Rom 7:22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; Rom 7:23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Rom 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Rom 7:25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

The apostle Paul understood the battle within and the frustration that came with trying to change. He says I don’t understand what I do, I hate what I do. I have the desire to do what’s right but I can’t do it. I keep on doing evil which is not what I want to do. So Paul was experiencing an inner battle, this war inside of wanting to do right but doing wrong. Senceca, a Roman philosopher born in 4 b.c. talked about how men hate their sins and love them at the same time. Ovid, the Roman poet, had penned the famous line: “I see the better things and I approve them, but I follow the worse.

The battle within, the frustrations, the failures effected Pauls view of himself and he calls himself a wretch. Notice what he says: What a wretched man I am!


Not being able to change, being frustrated and angry at yourself about the things that you do is a downward dangerous spiral which effects how we view ourselves and can lead to self-hatred, self-loathing. We says things like I hate myself, or you’re fat & ugly, nobody will love me, or if people knew the real me they wouldn’t want to be around (heck I don’t even like me). Self-loathing can lead to self-sabotage. We begin doing things that we thought we’d never do. We go out and get drunk and hate ourselves afterwards. We sleep with people we barely even know, some cut themselves as a form of self-sabotage. We do things to please others, to fit in, to belong even things that compromise our convictions and are dangerous and can cost us our lives.

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