I’ve recently become acutely aware of the resistance we encounter when we try to change something in our lives. After all, change is always necessary when we learn our purpose and attempt to live it. The important thing to remember is that resistance doesn’t always mean we’re on the wrong track. In fact, the more we’re on the right track, the more resistance to change we’ll encounter.
Three Sources of Resistance to Change
Source #1 – Satan
If Satan can’t have our souls (which he can’t if we’ve put our faith in Jesus), he does his best to deter us from our God-given purpose and render us ineffective in God’s Kingdom.
To resist his resistance, we must remember that Satan’s tactics always involve lies. After all, he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Be absolutely sure that when God shows you what you need to change, Satan will present lies that appear to be truth to keep you from making that change. As the master deceiver, Satan masquerades evil as good, so ask God for wisdom and discernment. Keep going back to what you know God told you to change, spend time in His Word to make sure it all aligns with His Truth, and then do as Jesus did when Satan tempted Him: counter Satan’s lies with God’s Word.
Source #2 – Yourself
The power of a habit is that it is automatic and requires very little thought or willpower. We exercise hundreds of habits a day, from thought processes and attitudes to what we eat and when we brush our teeth.
When we attempt to change anything we do on a regular basis, our inner automation system will resist and attempt to get us to do what we’ve always done.
Theories vary regarding how many days it takes to change our inner automation and create a new habit. Bottom line is that it takes however long it takes until it becomes automatic to us. The length of time will vary depending on many different factors.
What actually happens when something becomes automatic to us is that a neural pathway in our brain has changed over time in response to our chosen and repeated thoughts and actions. (For more info on this process, read the book, Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health). To continue choosing and repeating new thoughts and actions until they become automatic, we need to resist the resistance as long as it takes until it no longer resists. Of course, that’s way easier said than done!
As Christians, we have a wonderful gift — the Holy Spirit who has been given to us as our Helper. That’s why Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). When we follow His leading in what He wants us to change, we become yoked together with Him and He shoulders the load with us and helps us to resist the resistance and plow a new path.
Source #3 – Others
Unfortunately, it is very often those closest to us who create the most resistance when we attempt to make a change. After all, the rippled effect inadvertently affects them, too. Some resist out of good will, others from selfishness. It’s not up to us to determine why they’re resisting. Sometimes they don’t even know themselves. But it is up to us to continue our course of change when we’re sure it’s one God is leading us to make, no matter who is resisting or how they’re resisting.
For some of us, people are the hardest resistance to resist. After all, we don’t want to hurt them. We long for their approval and support. We fear their anger or their gossip. People-pleasing is one of the oldest and most subtle of idols in our lives. We must eradicate it at all costs, because if we don’t, we won’t fulfill God’s purpose and plan for us. We’ll be fulfilling others’ plans for us instead.
Much more could be said about all three of these sources of resistance to change. I pray this will at least increase your awareness of the resistance so you can resist the resistance and stay the course to living your purpose and the plan God has laid out before you.