Highlands Blog

How to Achieve Long-Term Change

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Personal Growth, Women

Woman raising her arms in success.

Will I Ever Be Able to Change?

Long-term change is what the Christian life is all about (Ephesians 4:22–24). Someday we will experience the most glorious change from corruptible to incorruptible and we look forward to that glorious day when we will be like Christ. Until that time, the Bible makes it clear that we must strive:

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12–13).

Notice the words Paul uses here, straining and press on. Because we live in a fallen world, we will always struggle to do what we ought to do.

Accountability & Change

There are times when we are called to press through, to grit our teeth, and obey, regardless of what is going on around us. We all have a cross to bear. But sometimes, I wonder if we do not rely on our own strength to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps more out a spirit of pride and self-sufficiency than of true Christian sacrifice. If we are going to see long-term change in our lives, it will only come when we humble ourselves and seek some form of accountability.

The first thing to note is what accountability is not. It’s not admitting we have a problem or an area that we would like to change. As hard as that can be, especially when it humbles us, telling the truth about our struggles is only a starting point. Accountability is also not getting together with others to complain about our problems or the obstacles that hinder us from changing.

Accountability is most effective when it is personal. Titus 2 is an excellent example of this. Yes, there is a general sense in which older women should be teaching younger women, but the specific qualities that Titus 2 calls for must be taught individually and in the context of life. With our personal strengths and weaknesses, and our husbands, loving our husbands requires different actions in different marriages. In one marriage loving your husband means speaking more, in another, it means speaking less.

Accountability is most successful when it is specific. I learned to be consistent in exercise when I e-mailed my workout schedule to a woman I respected. This is why having company is a great way to stay accountable for housecleaning. This is an appropriate time to care what others think of us.

Throughout the New Testament there are many references to “one another-ing.” Each is quite personal. When we are told to exhort one another, that isn’t just a call to tell others where they are doing something wrong. It is a call to come alongside them and help them learn to do what is required. (The more I apply this principle particular with my children, the better our relationships are and the more I see the peaceful home I desire.)

Finding someone to be accountable to can be a challenge. A mentor, a Titus 2 woman, is the best place to start. For me, the more impersonal the setting, the less effective the accountability is. Keeping the accountability specific will help us find someone willing. One acquaintance asked if she should could e-mail a weekly record of what she ate: “You don’t even have to read it. Just notice if I don’t send it.”

Asking for help is humbling, but it is also the best way to begin the process of change.


This article first appeared in the HomeWise column in Every Thought Captive magazine. SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

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