Is there something in your life that needs to change?
The doctor says, “In order to survive, you must change your eating habits!” The financial advisor says, “In order to make the money you want you must change your strategy.” The coach says, “In order to achieve your goals, you must make some changes in the way you train.” The counselor says, “In order to save your marriage, you must make a change.” The pastor says, “God says in order to grow up and become like Jesus, we must be willing to continually change our ways.”
Change! – That can be some strong medicine that none of us likes to hear and even harder to follow.
Nothing is harder than changing when we are set in our ways and our thinking. It’s a trap into which we all fall and get deeply tangled. We don’t mean to fall into the trap necessarily, we just get into a pattern or routine and feel comfortable within it and the next thing we know we are trapped and we’ll do about everything we can before we will change.
It’s like the trap of procrastination. We feel comfortable with the way things are so we put off needed activities as long as possible and sometimes too long.
When you think about it, getting comfortable and refusing to change is refusing to grow, to stretch, and to be open to God doing new things in our lives. Since life continues to move on at a very rapid pace, if we are refusing to change and are comfortable with things remaining as they always have been, we are really falling backwards.
God used the experiences of Israel in the Old Testament to bring out lessons for all of us and one was the lesson of STRONG MEDICINE – in the way He described His people.
Deuteronomy 32:15 (ESV) — 15 “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
Ezekiel 3:4–7 (ESV) — 4 And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart.
God uses several means to administer this medicine that we need to change. These include circumstances, His Word – The Bible, and godly people around us, including a minister of His word as were the cases above in Moses and Ezekiel.
How many times have circumstances required you to make a change? The Bible is full of examples of people who made changes because they had to change in order to survive. Then as you look back upon the story you realize that was the means God used to get them into the place where He needed them to be in order to bless them. A good example is the story of Joseph where God allowed him to be sold by his brother into slavery, tossed into jail, only to be elevated to second in command in Egypt and used by God to save thousands of people from an upcoming famine. God still does that today with all of us. He uses circumstances to get us to change.
The Bible is constantly calling on us to change for the better. The theological term is sanctification. The more we learn and the more we submit to God, the more we are constantly allowing Him to change our attitudes and our actions
2 Corinthians 7:8–9 (ESV) — 8 For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. 9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
As hard as those changes are to make, the more those changes become channels of joy and blessing in our lives.
The other method God uses to help us to change are the godly relationships we have. God can use a good friend, a spouse, a counselor, pastor, or coach – anyone who cares enough to administer the strong medicine that calls for us to make some changes.
Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) — 17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:6 (ESV) — 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
Regardless of how we get this strong medicine administered to us, the way we respond is critical to our growth and success. Are you willing to change? Or are you stuck in a rut? May God grant us all the grace to change, stretch, and grow.