When we give our life to Jesus, our spirit is united with God, and our soul and body are submitted to our spirit. In other words, our spirit calls the shots, and the soul and body follow.

When we give our lives to Jesus, we receive everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), but we may still struggle because our spirit is not in the lead. What we give the most attention to will become the most influential. Our spirit can take the lead only if we feed it more than our soul and body.

So the answer to "can I really change?" is found in the process of sanctification and in the order in which God has designed life to work.

The world around us constantly feeds our souls through things we see and hear. And our bodies, if starved, make it known that they're hungry. They get loud if we withhold gratification from our souls and bodies. On the other hand, our spirit gets quiet when not fed. We have to be intentional to feed our spirit. What are you doing to feed your spirit?

So who is in control?

The soul and the body are complex and can often be confusing, especially since we are accustomed to them taking the lead. Let's consider the following: Very early in life, we learn to take instruction from our souls. We have all seen the toddler throw himself on the floor and demand his own way. He is being led by his emotions when he holds his breath until the parent gives in to his demands. We might think that this only happens in the lives of children, but adults can possess the same tendencies.

When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22–23)

Galatians 6:8 says, "Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

Daily living

Choosing to live life in the spiritual order God designed offers protection, spiritual growth, and power to overcome hard things in life. It's important to understand that living out of spiritual order is dangerous.

When we allow our soul or body to lead, it opens a door for the enemy to operate in our lives. We will be protected from the enemy when we choose to do things God's way and give control of our lives to Him.

Read Psalm 91:9-10 which talks about who will receive the benefit of protection and safety.

So what happens when I fall short?

What happens when we fall short or give in to temptation? We respond by distancing ourselves from God. We feel shame and condemnation, but remember God convicts; He does not condemn. Godly sorrow for sin will lead us to repentance, which means "to turn and go the other way."

Read and reflect on Psalm 66:18–20. "If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me."

When you realize your life is out of order, stop and repent. Then, ask for and receive God's grace. The Lord's kindness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Remember: He is the God who came looking for Adam and Eve!

Staying in order

We face decisions every single day, and the choices we make dictate the lives we lead. So how do we make good decisions? We need to change the way we think.
Knowing your identity is also a key to being led by the Holy Spirit. Think about who you are in Him and read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Ephesians 1:4

We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is our counselor, friend, guide, and the One who reveals truth. Start getting to know Him today. As you grow in your relationship with Him, Bible reading will become more enjoyable, worship more intimate, prayer more powerful, and God's will for you more tangible and exciting.
When you walk with Jesus, life is abundant indeed—and this is only the beginning! You can change!