We all want that, don’t we? We long to improve, to be more successful in our endeavors and strive to be a better person.
“I’ve noticed a change in me,” my friend said on the phone. “I’m trying so hard to be more gentle, to be more understanding and patient,” she said.

I grinned with delight because indeed, I saw that change in her. And I was doubly impressed with her own way to reach that level of self-awareness and her admirable resolve to change. And thus, become a better person.

But as she changed, a little guilt made me squirm a bit. Change is something I fight. It’s a hard road, unpleasant and uncomfortable. I’d rather stay where I’m at, acting the way I know and reacting in the way that makes me cozy in my comfort zone.

But that’s called “being stuck.” So I went to work to see if I could manage what my friend had.

I found five ways to move out of the same old, same old ways of mine.

1. First, know that Satan is cheering when we remain the same. He whispers the lie: “Choose to be happy. Choose comfort. Choose what is easy.” And we fall for the world’s ways and thus, become enemies of God. (James 4:4).

2. Second, God is commanding change, transformation, steadfast resolve and faith to do what’s right and face the uncomfortable, the painful and yes, even the unpleasant. (Romans 12:2)

3. Third, God wants us to grow, to develop character, to become mature, complete and lack nothing. (James 1:2)

4. Fourth, He will reward our efforts to move beyond the “happy” and the “comfortable.” He’ll present the prize when we persevere in the ugly, in the rude and unattractive. When we become more like Him and less obedient to our frail whims. (Philippians 3:13).

5. Fifth, He wants to use that stronger character we developed during those less-than-ideal moments. He will use them to His glory, as shining examples of endurance where we live out His command to love: “Love rejoices with the truth…Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:7)

Father, how often I moved away from persevering. I’ve let my human pride choose what is best for me—comfort and selfish happiness rather than choose to grow and mature. Your Word prompts me to leave behind my own flawed tendencies and follow tender submission to you and allow you to build my character. In Jesus’s name, amen.

• What circumstances is God using to build your character?

• What are you avoiding that’s hard or uncomfortable?

• What changes do you need to be a better person?

Janet P. Eckles