“Can an Ethiopian change his skin or a leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”
Jeremiah 13:23 NIV
These days it is not thought proper to speak of your self in a negative light. We like sermons that leave us "strengthened and edified" and "empowered". So Jeremiah is kind of a downer here. His insight, though, is one which every thoughtful believer eventually comes to. It is the recognition of hopelessness. Ouch, we don't like those kinds of negativity. But frequently we recognize with Paul in Romans 7 that "...the things I ought to do are not the things I do..." As the scripture says in another place, "the flesh profits us nothing. "
You and I are hopelessly bound to what we are. Perhaps I could have been an acrobat, though it is unlikely, but it is certainly beyond the horizon now. The paths that I have chosen have limited me. Got any thoughts regarding your choices? Have you limited your options by your choices? But the prophet goes further. He insinuates that there are inborn characteristics, imprints of who you are to become are woven in you from the womb. That is disconcerting! I cannot do good, because I am accustomed to doing evil. Double Ouch!
Once you reach the point of hopelessness you will need to accept another truth or you will be stuck in despair. God deals in hope to the hopeless. No matter the limitations of your human strength you are not stuck being what you are now. For at the simple invitation from your heart in prayer, God mercifully attends us with the power to change everything. Yes, on your own you cannot change, but there is power in the name of Jesus. Rise up.