Photo: Patryk Sobczak
In the 1980s and 1990s the Rocky movies were very popular; all of us love it when an underdog achieves a seemingly impossible goal.
In Rocky IV, Rocky flies to Russia to fight their boxing champion, Drago. The sole reason for this fight was Rocky’s desire to avenge the death of his dear friend, Apollo Creed.
Apollo and Drago had a promotional fight that ended with Drago beating him mercilessly, which resulted in his death. Rocky felt responsible because he did not stop this fight before Apollo was fatally injured.
Rocky is driven by guilt and anger to train and prepare himself to fight this seemingly invincible foe. Everything is against him: size, strength, his wife’s refusal to support him and the hostile crowd in the fight arena.
Without going into a play-by-play description of the fight, the end result was a victory for Rocky. The hostile crowd was gradually won over to Rocky because of his determination to fight to the death.
At the end of the movie Rocky says these words to the crowd:
During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you...I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!
How do we really change our attitudes and behavior?
Some of you have been nurtured in a non-christian culture where generational sins have been passed down to children, grandchildren and great grandchildren: unforgiveness, prejudice, promiscuity, lying, homosexuality, gambling, unwholesome speech, substance abuse, etc.
When Christ comes into our lives as Lord and Savior, He wants to change this behavior and replace it with His character, which is expressed in the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Repentance is an about-face. Before Jesus entered into your life, you had your back to Christ, going your own way. When you received Him you repented and made an about-face and began walking toward Christ. As you focused on Jesus, your character began to change.
Romans 6:11-14 gives us the formula for lasting change:
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to Him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.
I underlined all the commands in this passage because change begins with a mindset of obedience. Once the mind is focused properly our actions must follow suit.
These verses tell us we can make the right choices because we are controlled by God’s Spirit and not victims to our circumstances.
Now that you know this, act in accordance to who you are: a child of God with His Spirit living in you. (Romans 8:11; I Corinthians 2:12)
This truth brings about real change.