Monday, July 10, 2017

The Challenge to Change

I have been thinking the past few days about change. More specifically, the rut we find ourselves in after listening to sermon after sermon, Bible study after Bible study, and doing Bible reading after Bible reading. All of that is good, necessary, and helpful. BUT, what if I get used to it and nothing happens?  What if there is no change from any of it? What if I am going through the motions? 

Example: on Sunday, at our church, we heard a sermon from Philippians 4 about camaraderie. That's not a topic I would normally see or think about from reading verses 21-23 about greetings. But it made me think about how I greet people (probably even some of you!). Are my greetings sincere and caring, or are they nonchalant and meaningless? How do I need to change what I do? 

Example: Recently I was teaching about using the Psalms to guide your prayer time. Actually, you can pray through any scripture passage, not just the Psalms. I have done it the past couple of years, though not as faithfully as I should. I get in a rut, and get satisfied with what I know or what I have been doing. When that happens, I'm going to get into trouble, spiritually.I will stop growing.

Maybe you can only do one or two Psalms and use them for prayer. Or maybe continue with your own plan of Bible reading, but use that Bible reading to inform your prayer requests for yourself and for others.

What do I need to do, then? Every time I hear something from the Bible or read my Bible, I should look for something that can be improved in my spiritual growth. Or I'll get into a rut. There's ALWAYS room for improvement. I need to watch out for being satisfied, or thinking everything's fine with what I'm doing. Change is needed. All the time. That's what Romans 12:2 is about: being transformed (changed) by the renewing of our mind. 
There is more to say about those words from Paul. God does the changing (passive voice, which means that God is doing the change work). It is a command, not a suggestion; the word implies an outward change, meaning in our actions.

Of course, we do cooperate with God's work. In Philippians 2:12 we are told that we are to work out our own salvation, but that God is at work in us it is a command, not a suggestion; the word does imply an outward change, meaning in our actions. So think about what you can be or should be doing when you hear the Word. Don't be satisfied.

We just finished celebrating Independence Day (also called 4th of July), but remember it's independence for our nation that is celebrated, not independence from not having to change. We are DEPENDENT on Christ. We serve Him. We need to constantly grow in Him. That usually means some changes need to be made. What changes will you be making? Be asking yourself that question every time you read God's Word, hear God's Word, are taught God's Word, memorize God's Word, or meditate on God's Word. It's a challenge! Will you accept that challenge? That's what obedient followers of Christ will do.