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I recently preached a sermon concerning this thought. Here are some excerpts from that sermon. I hope that they make you think about yourself and where you stand with your spiritual life.
Understand that nothing changes if nothing changes. The statement “Change is inevitable; misery is optional” is truer than many of us care to admit. Somehow, we imagine that it is possible to live without change. However, we can no more live and not have change than we can jump without feeling the impact of gravity. Therefore, to live is to change. Look back at the last 50 years and see how much change there has been in the world.
I understand that we don’t like change. We get into a comfortable mode at work, church, home and at play and want to stay right there. I can try to resist change and try to stay the way I am or release my resistance to change. The Bible says to “lay aside every weight.” In other words there is some stuff that has to change.
There is a saying that goes: “Nothing changes if nothing changes if I keep doing what I’ve always done, I’ll keep getting what I’ve always got and will keep feeling what I always felt.”
That is a true statement and is just another way of saying that you are stuck in a rut. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
One of the definitions of rut is “a fixed, usually boring routine.” If you continue to do the same thing in a rut you will go nowhere. People refuse to change because their mindset is that I am comfortable or I can control what I am doing and they are fearful of change.
Change can be very threatening. Change will bring with it a level of uncertainty and, because of that, people develop an attitude or spirit of fear. But Second Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Therefore we should not be fearful of change.
One of the main reasons people don’t want to serve God is because it truly changes you. Many people go through the motions of Christianity but they never really change their lives or their lifestyle. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The simple interpretation of this scripture is change.
One of the most successful programs to help people with their chronic struggles has been the 12 step program. All 12 step recovery programs start essentially the same way: Step one is about taking a step. I admit to myself that something is seriously wrong in my life. I have made a mess of my life. I realize that my life has become unmanageable in many ways. I do things that I later regret doing and tell myself that I will not do them again. But I do. Step one is all about admitting brokenness in our life.
Step two is a step of hope, faith and realization. It is a big step towards God. In essence it says: In spite of all of the failures in my own life - all of the broken promises, hard feelings, disappointments, failures, destructive behavior, hatred, anxiety, depression or guilt - there is still hope. You must be honest with yourself and say I can’t make it on my own and I don’t have it all together. I need to change.
Step three is a step of letting go. I have made a conscious and willful decision to turn my will and all my life’s circumstances over to the care of God. These are the essential first steps any of us must take if we are to grow in our walk with the Lord. Remember change must happen in life, for to live is to grow; to grow is to change.
If you want things to change you must cast off some stuff also. Understand that God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. If you are going to grow in your walk, you must be willing to allow God to help you to change, to be more and more like Jesus.
Nothing changes if nothing changes. If you come to church every Sunday, pay your tithes and offerings, and even sing the praise songs with enthusiasm, but you still have the same carnal mind then nothing in your life has changed because your mind is still the same. Romans 8:7 says “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”. So we see that our minds must be changed. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Second Corinthians 5:17 says,“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
You cannot be in Christ and still do what you were doing before you got in Christ. Why? Because if you are still doing the same thing, there has been no change and nothing changes if nothing changes.
When you come to God completely, you get a new walk, a new talk, a new point of view, a new attitude. No longer are you like you used to be, you’ve been changed. Something changed because something changed. You must change from being dead in sin to being alive in Christ. From lost to found, from hurt to healed, from sad to happy, from out of my mind to being in perfect peace.
Take that first step. Because change begins with that first step. There is still hope! Let God help you make the changes in your life! God loves you and he wants more than anything to help you make it to heaven.
Here are some self evaluation questions for you. Are you stuck in a rut and want change? Do you go to a church but have not really changed in your thoughts and actions? Do you want to see Jesus? If your answers to any of these questions are yes, please visit our church and let us help you make some needed changes in your life. You will be glad you did.
The Rev. David W. Croucher is pastor of the First Apolostolic Church in Carrollton, Ky.