19 November 2008

Change Your Life!

Change is one of the most remarkable qualities of human nature. From the time we are conceived until the time we die “change” is our constant companion. As infants, we grow physically, pick up knowledge rapidly and our senses are exercised every waking moment.

In the preteen years we begin to manifest abilities which, if developed, give definition to the changes we make in the future. People change into all kinds of things: doctors, lawyers, managers, technicians, entrepreneurs, etc. and we develop all kinds of skills and qualities in the process of getting there.

The interesting thing about change is we never arrive. We continue to change throughout life in response to our experiences. That is, we become better, more experienced doctors or lawyers or technicians because we continue to gain new insights and learn from the mistakes we made in the past. Engineers today build better damns and bridges because they have learned from the experiences of previous generations.

Our ability to change gives us what I call “become-ability.” A dog will never be anything other than a dog and the same can be said for every other life form except humans. Animals become nothing other than what their inborn nature and instincts allow. Their most dominant quality is their predictability. Real change is the domain of humans only. Not even God can change.

Sadly, however, some people never intentionally become anything. They get caught in the cycle that goes nowhere and positive change never happens. When this occurs, everyone and everything around them seem to negatize any effort to break the cycle. Which is to say that change can sometimes take a bad turn which isn’t easily made right.

But, there is one person who always wants you to change for the good, God. He created you with a high capacity for change initially and when that doesn’t go as well as He originally intended He’s organized a back up plan to give you some extra impetus. Following are some of the things He has provided to make this possible:

A new nature. Jesus said we could be born again. This isn’t really a new topic. The terminology isn’t well understood but it has become popular. To discuss it fully would take several posts. Suffice it to say, however, that at the heart of this issue is a new nature. The person who is born again receives a brand new, un-taint-able, unchangeable nature. It doesn’t replace the old nature but it does give you more leverage on your ability to change. The new nature gives us what I call “overcome-ability.”

A new coach. No one pulls themselves up by their own bootstraps. No one succeeds without the support and encouragement of other people. Everyone needs people even if all they do is use them.

The problem is, the people we need are not always what we need them to be. They don’t always have the answers we need most and when they do they aren’t always willing to share them. Not every person is willing or capable of mentoring our lives.

Well, God has your best interest at heart always and He wants to be your coach. This is so true that He promises to indwell us by His Holy Spirit who intends to encourage us, not judge us, hound us or make us feel guilty every time we fail. In fact, the Holy Spirit is called the “comforter.” His primary purpose is to be our friend. To call Him "comforter" is like saying,

“I know you will fail and when you do I am going to be the one who continues to accept you and comfort you and help you and encourage you to never give up, no matter what.”
Jesus is actually quoted as saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Interpreted that means,
“Even when you give up on yourself I will never give up on you.”
Paul actually shared that exact sentiment with Timothy who at the time was feeling a little overcome with life. With a coach like that who can fail to make positive changes. Who can fail to keep on keeping on.

A new opportunity. The most powerful word in the Bible is “forgiveness.” Properly understood it means,

“even when you mess up completely you can never fail entirely.”
I don’t want to sound glib, casual or disrespectful but “forgiveness” is your “get-out-of-jail-free” card. You can and will fail but, you can never fail beyond God’s ability to forgive. When you totally crash one opportunity, He will have another one waiting for you once you get through the turbulence. Sometimes it is our failure that stimulates our greatest changes.

Additionally the words used to describe change help us understand the extent to which this can actually happen:

Repentance (a change of mind). How many people do you know who really (I mean really) change their mind. To many, there isn’t much difference between a change of mind and compromise.

Transformed (metamorphosis resulting from renewing the mind). Metamorphosis!?!?!?!?!? The changes God allows are so radical it can only be described as a “morphing” of your nature. How amazing is that? Oh, and BTW, it starts with the renewing of your mind. Your life will never change if your mind doesn’t move.

New Creations (what we are because of the new birth). This speaks of the change that God makes in us. When you are born again God makes you completely new. He doesn’t renovate the old you He replaces it with the new you.

And the Bible further provides a long list of qualities that can characterize every Christian: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Wow, who wouldn’t want to be all of those? Who wouldn’t want to associate with people like this?

The question is not, “are you changing?” but “in which direction are you changing?” Don’t waste energy doubting the changes God has made possible. Don’t stay in the dumps over the difference between where you are and where you wish you were. Begin making changes today! ThinkAboutIt.

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