To Change or Not To Change

  By Bob Brubaker  |  

Einstein once said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”  The question is this: if you are not getting the results you want are you willing to change what you are doing?

There was once a cigarette ad campaign featuring a person with a black eye and the slogan, “I’d rather fight that switch.” It’s amazing how many people you hear who are not happy with the way things are going in their life yet seem to take the same attitude toward making any change as the cigarette ad campaign. Can’t you just imagine that person you heard complaining about things in their life wearing a black eye and the caption over their head, “YEA, THINGS MAY NOT BE THE WAY I WANT THEM TO BE – BUT I’D RATHER FIGHT THAN CHANGE.”

How ridiculous!  If you are not happy with the way things are going in your life – why aren’t you making the necessary changes and adjustments to get you on the track where you want to be?

In the Old Testament, God’s people were heading down the road to disaster and he sent his prophet Jeremiah to warn them by calling on them to make some changes in their lives, but they not only refused but abused Jeremiah for bringing a word from the Lord that was not pleasant to the ears. They were willing to fight over these words:

Jeremiah 26:13 (ESV) Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you.

Jeremiah 38:6 (ESV) — 6 So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud, and Jeremiah sank in the mud.

Earlier in the Old Testament there’s an example of Jacob who is about to face the greatest test of his life and knows his spiritual walk with God has not been what it should be, so he sees a needed change in both himself and his family.

Genesis 35:2 (ESV) So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.

Here’s the point: If you don’t like the way things are – CHANGE. Make the first step right now toward making a change. That change of our ways is called “repentance.” Of course, the word of God is clear that repentance is a grace gift that must come from God, but He sovereignly uses circumstances with the ministry of His word to open the door in bringing us to change and to be free from the chains that have us locked in the downward spiral.

2 Timothy 2:24–26 (ESV) — 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

How does this repentance look as God grants it to us? Of course, it begins with a submission to God and His word which means we submit to the Gospel and the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives, turning from all idols and evidences of any works righteousness.

Romans 10:8–10 (ESV) — 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

As we go through life, God continues to work on our sanctification which is changing us in character to be conformed to the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. That sanctification process is seen in our attitude and in our actions.

How’s your attitude? Granted, there are things about which we are not happy and cannot change, but we can change our attitude toward any situation and that is exactly where God is working because the place to begin is the source and that is our heart. We often want to begin with our circumstances and work our way to change within, but God says to begin with a change within, as He leads, prompts, guides, and helps you. Listen to the words of the prophet:

Joel 2:12-13 (ESV) “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 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.

God most often brings someone into our lives who is bold enough to bring us His word, by which the Holy Spirit uses us to make a change in heart which is then seen in the change of attitude toward the circumstances we face. So, if you aren’t happy with your job, note that God is at work on making a change in you, in your attitude which flows from your heart, so accept the sanctification process before you begin to look for another job. Likewise, as God makes significate changes in our heart, He doesn’t stop there because He is also at work on our character and lifestyle which, like the attitude, flows from the heart.

Matthew 12:33–35 (ESV) — 33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Making changes is not easy so it may require some outside help in the way of coaching through guidance and encouragement. God is faithful to bring us people in our lives. If He has blessed you in taking the first step in facing the problem, seeking help, and desiring to make a change then He will guide you to find a person, be it a pastor, teacher, friend, or counselor who will take God’s Word and help you apply God’s agent for change.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Anyone can complain about the status of things. If you aren’t happy with the way things are: God is always working on you to MAKE A CHANGE so submit to Him rather than fight off the need to change. You can be confident when you are made to feel the rough edges of life that God is leading you to change which is an evidence that He does not give up on His goal for you; conforming you to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29–30 (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. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Philippians 1:6 (ESV) — 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Godspeed,

Bob Brubaker

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