Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24–25a, esv)!
Do you want to change?
Maybe you’re tired of cycles of defeat and empty self-help programs.
Maybe you’re enslaved to a habit and feel the pain of falling flat on your face after you vowed (and really meant) you would never do that again.
Maybe your marriage is in trouble.
Maybe there is a sin that keeps coming back to haunt you.
Maybe you’re deeply wounding those you love and want to stop.
Maybe you realize your life is turning out far differently than you’d hoped, and you want to change direction before it’s too late.
So do you want to change?
Take heart—change is possible; in fact, it’s God’s plan for our lives.
“The answer is Jesus Christ.”
Change begins with admitting, “I am the problem.” Once and for all, let’s accept that our problems are not due to other people, our parents, or our past. While we may bear very real wounds and scars from our past, before we can change, we must take full responsibility for who we’re becoming. Like the Apostle Paul, we must admit, “Wretched man that I am” (Romans 7:24)! The word wretched means distressed or miserable, exhausted from hard labor. Paul felt so spent from trying to change himself that he came to the point of desperation where he admitted, in effect, “God, I want to be different. I won’t shield myself from the darkness in my heart anymore. I want to become the person You want me to be. So I’m going to face up to who I really am.” We can’t change without recognizing our own wretchedness. Change begins with the genuine, humble, contrite admission, “I’m the problem.”
Only God can change our hearts. After Paul’s long description of his sinfulness and his inability to change himself, he simply says, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24–25)! At this point, some readers feel frustrated with Paul. Paul, can’t you say more? I’m with you, I see my desperate condition, I’m so ready for the answer, and that’s all you give me?
It’s so simple that we almost miss it. The answer is Jesus Christ. He wants to change our hearts. In our desperation, we need to come to Him and ask Him to do what only He can do.
Does God still change people? Oh yes—and He wants to change you.
Lord, I admit it: I’m the problem. I’m not focusing on the weaknesses of others; I see my own brokenness and wretchedness. And I’m asking You to change me. You could do so much more in me. I know You want to change me, I know I need to be changed, and I acknowledge that I can’t do it on my own. Forgive me for blaming others and for trying to change in my own strength, apart from You. I know I desperately need Your help, so please change me. I’m asking in the name of “Jesus Christ our Lord,” my hope, amen.