We Say We ‘Can’t’ Change When We Mean ‘Won’t’

By Jon Walker
Dying

Photo by zachstern

We should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:6–7 (NIV)

When my oldest son was two years old, he’d sometimes push away food, making a face and saying, “I can’t like it.”

“I can’t like it” implies my son didn’t have a choice, as if he’d been pre-programmed to not like something, no matter how hard he tried.

It’s a cute phrase coming from a two-year-old, but not so cute when we say the same thing to God: “Sorry, Lord, I can’t do that because I can’t like it . . . and, therefore, I can’t do it!’’ What we really mean is “I won’t do it.”

Are you with me here? We tell God we can’t change, we can’t handle a difficult situation, we can’t abandon a bad habit, we can’t learn to love that person who has the unique ability to push every one of our buttons every single time.

Yet, we really mean is we won’t control our anger; we won’t stop overeating; we won’t love our wives like Christ loved the Church; we won’t respect our husbands as the Bible directs; we won’t love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

We act as if we have no choice; yet, truth says we’ve been set free to make the right choices, supported by the Holy Spirit present and active in our lives.

Paul teaches we do not have to sin. We’re free to walk in godly obedience, free to live the life God intended us to live.

You are free, no longer a slave to sin. You can choose to say no to sin, relying on the Holy Spirit’s strength to help you make godly choices.

Jon Walker

Jon Walker is author of the small group study In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's Classic Work ‘Life Together’ and managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals. © 2012 Jon Walker. Used by permission.