The biggest obstacles to change (Renovation of the Heart Chapter 11)

What is our biggest problem? What are the obstacles that prevent us from living the Christian life? These are questions that have bothered me for most of my life. Because I read about what the Christian life is supposed to be and then I see the way it is lived out and the two realities do not seem to match. The Christian soul is supposed to embrace God’s commands and treasure His Word as their rule of life. Unfortunately, Willard says, this is not the condition that most people find themselves in. He says most are “living off of incoherent dreams and illusions. Enslaved to their desires and their bodily habits or blinded by false ideas, distorted images, and misinformation.” The result is they cannot find truth or pursue goodness. They live contrary to what they think is wise because they are in a constant battle with their own chaotic desires.
Why do so many people who claim Christianity fail to live the Christian life as God has designed it? In chapter 11 of Renovation of the Heart, Willard gives us two reasons.
1. Pride keeps us from living out the Christian life.
Willard says that our souls are proud and that this pride prevents us from being the people God wants us to be. He says, “We think we are big enough to take our life into our own hands and disobey instead of ‘humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God.’”
2. Our own desires keep us from living out the Christian life.
Once our pride convinces us to take our lives into our own hands, we begin to desire freedom to do as we please. After all, we know what is best for us and we should get what we want.
These two problems are constantly sabotaging our spiritual transformation. After all, how many times have we convinced ourselves, ‘I know what I am doing’? How many times have we told ourselves, ‘I know what I want’? Look at all of the places you have gone wrong in your life. Can’t you trace it back to one of these two statements:
I know what I’m doing.
I know what I want.
The foundation for the Christian life is humility. The soul that lives humbly under the authority of God’s Word is the soul that will walk in a revived story of life and rightness. This rightness will exist internally, so that we are right with ourselves and with God, and it will exist externally so that we are we are right with others.


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