Change is never easy because we are creatures of comfort and when we get comfortable with things as they are, even if they are not where they could be or should be, we resist change. We may hear the preacher point out by God’s word that a change in life is necessary and we will resist the call by pointing out the need for others to change. When our doctor points out the need to make changes in lifestyle for the sake of our health and well-being, we tend to treat the doctor like our third-grade teacher, and we like to see all with which we can get away. The point is simple: we don’t like change so we resist making any changes no matter who points out the need to change and no matter how strong the argument is.
The children of Israel were called upon by God to make a significant change as God led them by Moses out of Egypt. Obviously, there were many changes that needed to be made in their journey and although the people grumbled, conformity to God’s plan took place. Until, however, God instructed them to go and take the land of promise.
Moses had sent 12 spies into the land to check it out and they brought back some of the fruit and the report that the description they had been told was all true. However, the spies reported walled cities and giants in the land. Joshua and Caleb quickly pointed out by God’s help they could take the land, but the people resisted the call for change.
Numbers 13:27–28 (ESV) — 27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. 28 However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there.
Numbers 14:1–4 (ESV) — 1 Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become a prey. Would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
Wow! The promised land in reach but they refused to take charge and follow God’s lead in taking the land. How many things do we miss out on because we refuse to change? Oftentimes the resistance to change is out of a refusal to leave the comfort of the situation we are in, even if that situation is not good for us. The Bible refers to this laziness as being a “sluggard,” and there is nothing good about being labeled a sluggard.
Proverbs 6:9–11 (ESV) — 9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Proverbs 20:4 (ESV) — 4 The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
Proverbs 26:13–16 (ESV) — 13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. 15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
Change is good, not for the purpose of mere change for change’s sake but for the results. There are times when God’s call for change is to wake us out of the death of the doldrums of doing being satisfied where we are because we are comfortable.
Joel 2:13 (ESV) — 13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
There are other times God has to remind us that to not change because are comfortable brings a great “woe” on us which is not good.
Amos 6:1 (ESV) — 1 “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the first of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes!
In what areas do you need to change? We all have those areas. As a matter of fact we all have needs of change in all areas of life. Those in church history known as the “reformers” believed that all of life is a matter of conforming more and more to God’s word so there is always a need for change, not for the sake of new things but for the reason of spiritual growth and maturity. Or as we find in the book of Romans, it’s a matter of conformity to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:29 (ESV) — 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
To change or not to change, that is the question. The answer is to pray for grace to conform which involves change, which means we cooperate instead of resist the needed changes.