“God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change,
COURAGE to change the things I can, and WISDOM to know the difference.”
Definition: – substitution of one for another – make or become different – a transformation
Change is necessary : because we have a need of something else (different); because what we have no longer serves its purpose; because reliability (standards) have changed; because we become dissatisfied with our position or surroundings or our lifestyle; because no change produces stagnation.
Change must be evident: it must be better than what I had before; it should do a better job; it must affect my thoughts, my speech, my actions; it must produce improved behaviour patterns.
If there is no evidence of change – it is possible/likely that there is no change.
There comes a time in all our lives when a major or radical change has to be made. Charles Swindoll, referring to the subject of change, wrote:
“If the tumor is the size of a grapefruit, taking a handful of vitamins three times a day is not the answer.
If the foundation has shifted so much that the walls are cracking and the windows won’t close, the place needs more than a paint job.
If the ship is sinking and the storm is getting stronger, it’s time to do something much more decisive than dialogue.
If the church is emptying because needs are not being met singing hymns and preaching longer sermons won’t help.
If the family is not talking, serving more meals is hardly the way to turn things around.”
A CHANGE IN MY LIFE WILL AFFECT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND MAN
HOW DOES CHANGE AFFECT MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD ?
Change at the human level takes us further away from God: ” their eyes were opened (wisdom/education) – they knew they were naked (knowledge), – they hid themselves from God” <Gen.3:6-8 (NIV)>; “so death passed upon all men.”: a change from a perfect creation to one that is imperfect or tarnished, – a change from fellowship with God to no fellowship with God. “Moreover, since they considered themselves too high and mighty to acknowledge God, He allowed them to become the slaves of their degenerate minds.” <Rom.1:28 (JBP)>
ROM.3:10-18 – are words that fully describe people who we hear of and come in contact with on a daily basis.
Instead of change for the better, we change for the worse: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard it’s spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” <Jer.13:23 (NIV)>. We are accustomed to doing evil or are learned in evil; an evil habit is very difficult to change because it has been learned and is cultivated by long hours of practice.
“I warned you when you felt secure, but you said, ‘I will not listen’. This has been your way from your youth; you have not obeyed me” <Jer.22:21 (NIV)> : we sin because of what we are – not who we are! (our way). We have all practiced evil from our youth, and this pattern becomes second nature to us and we excuse ourselves in many ways: nobody’s perfect; that’s the way I am I can’t change; I was born this way; there are no real standards to live by, so I make my own. Thus we have learned to act and react in sinful and evil ways with ease and with pleasure. We may claim to be unaware or ignorant of what God’s standards are, and we conduct ourselves with complete disregard for God. (our way)
“Now while it is true that God has overlooked the days of ignorance He now commands all men everywhere to repent. For He has fixed a day on which He will judge the whole world in justice by the standard of a man whom He has appointed“. <Acts 17:30-31 (JBP)>. Thus, change becomes necessary if one is to escape God’s judgement for sin : a change from my standards to God’s standard; a change from my evil ways to God’s ways.
HOW THEN CAN I CHANGE ?
If I desire to change toward God, then : “ye must be born again” <Jn.3:7 (KJV)> ; “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish”. <Lk.13:5 (KJV)>. The first step towards real change is salvation; and change begins internally because of salvation; but salvation is only the beginning.
Then God daily changes us as we study and apply His word to our lives: “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. <Rom.12:2 (KJV)>; our thought patterns must be controlled by the Holy Spirit, just as an old broken-down building has to be fully renovated – the foundations must be strengthened, the structure repaired, repainted and redecorated; similarly God’s word rebuilds and changes our lives. When we fail to allow God’s word to affect our lives then we become guilty of doing the same as the people in Jeremiah’s day: “but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit”. <Jer.2:11 (KJV); cf Col.3:1-17>. Col.3:1-2 – change my desires-“reach out for the highest gifts of heaven” <v1 (JBP)<; v3-7- change my habits/deeds; “consider yourselves dead to worldly contacts.” <v5 (JBP)>; v8-10 – change my lifestyle; “put all these things behind you.” . This means that I must change from my sinful ways to God’s ways : v11-17 – “As therefore, God’s picked representatives of the new humanity.” ; “Let Christ’s teaching live in your hearts.” <v16 (JBP)>; “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” <v17 (JBP)>
The question is: Can I do any of Col.3:1-17 in the name of the Lord Jesus ?
“we all….are changed. from glory to glory.” <2 Cor.3:18 (KJV)>; and we are reminded that “the whole creation has been groaning…waiting for…the redemption of our body” <Rom.8:22-23 (KJV)>; there is a deep down desire for change and only mankind does not sincerely seek change: leave me alone, I need to do things my way is the attitude.
WHY DO I NEED TO CHANGE?
In the Final analysis, one day God will completely change those of us who are His followers: then we will be like Him: “we shall all be changed….the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed”. <1 Cor.15:51-52 (KJV)>; “we shall be like him.” <1 Jn.3:2 (KJV)>. However, there are those who will not go through this change. Nevertheless, God will one day bring them to a form of change: “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement”. <Heb.9:27 (KJV)>; “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation.” <Heb.2:3 (KJV)>.
Unlike the redeemed who are changed into His everlasting likeness and glory, the wicked/sinful dead will remain themselves for all eternity, ; their desire to be left alone will be fulfilled.