OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            When we fall short in our lives, the only way to correct the problem is to put forth the effort to change.  This, however, will not happen until an individual recognizes the problem and has a burning desire to correct it.  When these two elements are in place, change often comes quickly and with what appears to be little effort. 

            This author has known several individuals who were addicts in the past.  They were addicted to alcohol or drugs.  Several of these individuals went to numerous treatment facilities with very few results.  Some of them refused to recognize their problem.  What others considered to be a serious issue was not considered to be serious for them.  Others knew they had a problem, but they did not have the desire to change.  Medications, counseling sessions, and all kinds of therapeutic techniques did not help them overcome their addiction.  It was only when they both recognized the problem and had a deep desire to overcome the problem that things began to change. 

            Within the church, we find individuals who have spiritual problems.  Some will not attend worship services on a regular basis.  Others will attend, but they have little desire within to truly worship God.  Still others refuse to use their talents for the Lord.  There are still others who are caught up in a web of sin.  There are many other spiritual problems that could be added to this list. 

            Christians who have these problems need to radically alter their lives (See Rev. 2:5; 3:17-19).  They need to make changes that will bring their lives into harmony with the gospel of Christ.  If they do not, they will be lost on the Day of Judgment.  To make the changes that will make them right with God, they must recognize their problem, and, then, have a desire to change.  Some do not even realize they have a problem.  If they were confronted, they would be offended that someone would approach them about their spiritual condition.  Others recognize their problem, but they have no desire to change.  As long as these conditions exist, these individuals will never change their spiritual status.

            It is a sad reality that faithful members of the church cannot cause another to recognize his problem nor create a deep desire to change within another person’s life.  Confrontation and rebuke are necessary, but they do not always cause one to see the error of his way.  Too, they cannot create a desire to change.  This is frustrating for the righteous.  They want to be of help.  They want to convert the sinner from the error of his way.  They want to see the individual repent and ask for forgiveness.  Sadly, these things do not always happen just because a person has been confronted (See Luke 13:34). 

            Recognition and desire are usually created by very unfortunate circumstances that develop because of a person’s problem.  In Luke 15:11-21, we read the account of “The Prodigal Son.”  When he asked for his inheritance and left home, he had a problem.  When he was in the far country wasting his substance on riotous living, he had a problem.  When he joined himself to a citizen of the far country and fed this man’s pigs, he had a problem.  When he ate of the husks that the swine did eat, he had a problem.  How long did he continue like this?  We are not told.  But, it was here that he finally “came to himself” (Luke 15:17).  In other words, he recognized he had a problem.  This was also coupled with a desire to change.  “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son:  make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:17-19).  Verse 20 then tell us:  “And he arose, and came to his father…”  Recognition plus desire caused him to do the things necessary to make his life right again.  When he returned home, his father hugged him and cried over him, restored him to a place of sonship in the home, and threw a party, and rejoiced that his son was found and was alive. 

            This author would never intentionally created hardship for anyone.  However, he longs for some Christians to find themselves in the “hog pit” before their lives end and it is too late to change.  He yearns for brethren to recognize their weak spiritual condition.  He longs for them to have a desire created within that motivates them to do all that is needed to change their lives.   We preach.  We teach.  We rebuke.  We chasten.  We encourage.  We discipline.  We do all of these things, yet there is no change.  Only recognition and desire will bring forth the fruits meet for repentance.  Only recognition and desire will improve an erring Christian’s spiritual state.  Pray for recognition and desire.