Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
My office is in the middle of a building with no exterior windows. The glass wall opens to a breezeway that leads to another building. Once at work, I am oblivious to the weather outside unless there is a storm with loud thunder or flashing lightning that can be heard. There are days when I may not walk outside at all until the end of the day so I have no idea what is going on in the world around me. There are days when I walk into the breezeway to encounter a cold blast of air or heavy humidity that was not there when I passed through before. But because I was not aware of the changes in the weather because I could not see them it takes me back a little until I adjust. Change is like that. We often are so caught in our own life that we do not see it coming. When it does it is a “blast” to all our senses that have built a carefully designed comfort zone to live in and would like to remain there if it is all the same to you. Change is in the atmosphere. God is not a man. He does not lie or change His Mind which is good news! (Numbers 23:19) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever – more good news! (Hebrews 13:8) It is up to each of us to change and be changed no matter how uncomfortable it may be. In fact, it is often the Lord who allows our life to be interrupted in order for change to occur. But don’t worry God is always out for our own good. (James 1:17) We must learn to embrace change. You cannot stop a rain shower just as I cannot stop change from occurring in my life. But I can grab an umbrella to walk in the rain, run through a shower or learn to dance in the puddles like it’s no big deal!
Do not copy the behavior or customs of this world. We are all a bunch of copy cats. Very few people strive to be different but would be totally satisfied to meet society’s norm. We teach children to follow the leader. Teenagers flock to the current trend to not become a fish out of water. High school students are all given “standardized testing” to meet the same benchmarks. Everyone must have a college degree to be successful or risk being labeled a failure. Three strikes you are out. Yet we choose now to live in a world that requires nothing taking from those who have to give to the have-nots, the working class bears the load of a lazy world because everyone has the right to be the same. Well, I challenge that idea. God created each one of us with an individualized plan and purpose that is unique to each one. He wrote every moment of our life to perfection. He knows the number of hairs on our head and it varies from person to person. No two people have the same fingerprint yet quirks are not allowed. What is normal? There is not one. I say all this to say that there is change in the atmosphere. The Spirit of God hovers waiting for another person to submit to change. How do we do that? Repentance leads to change. Repentance without change is nothing more than wasted effort. Repentance leads to salvation which is to turn from evil to pursue good. God is good! We want the Promises of God and to prosper in life but refuse to accept the change in the atmosphere. God wants to change us today! But unless we accept change as a lifestyle prosperity will not happen, His Promises will not come. We will be the same and miss forever. Who’s got time for all that?
But Jacob soon learned that Laban’s sons were grumbling about him. “Jacob has robbed our father of everything!” they said. “He has gained all his wealth at our father’s expense.” And Jacob began to notice a change in Laban’s attitude toward him. Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your father and grandfather and to your relatives there, and I will be with you.”
Jacob had become quite successful on his father-in-law’s, Laban, estate. When Laban’s sons became jealous of his prosperity they began to grumble. Apparently not much has changed over the years. Laban had honestly earned his wealth even when Laban was dishonest in his dealings with Jacob. Maybe Jacob did so in fear of returning home. His brother would surely kill him for stealing his birthright. However, Laban’s attitude toward Jacob began to change making a move inevitable. Change was in the air. Actually, change was in the atmosphere long before Laban arrived at his uncle’s house. “At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:13-15) If Jacob remained comfortable, he would not receive the Promise God made to him during his flight. Change is perpetual for a believer. It is always on the brink. The problem is not in the promise but people. We do not like change and do everything in our power to stop it rather than embracing what God has for us on a daily basis. Prosperity and promises become daily occurrences for those who stop trying to avoiding all the changes in their life but surrender each moment to the Lord so He can change us from the inside out.
Genesis 17:4-6 (NLT)
“This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!”
Change is a condition of our covenant with God. Abram became Abraham. God changed his name. He accepted the change. God called Abram – Abraham but the man did not have to go by that name. Hang on – there is something in that little tidbit for all us. Just because God created you and called you to be someone doesn’t mean that you will answer that call and allow the transforming power of God to make you into that person. It requires change. You must embrace it for it to become a reality in your life. Why do we have to change? Because God will not change. Why not? Because He is always good and perfect so to change is compromise and not what we want at all. God does not change His Plan for us either. However, we can experience delays based on our unwillingness to change. Case in point the Children of Israel who God took the back way to the Promised Land because He knew that if they had to fight a battle they would run back to Egypt. (Exodus 13:17-18) The best way to have all that God planned and prepared for us is to repent and do things His Way. (Malachi 3:6-12) What does the Lord require? Simple – fear (respect) the Lord, live a life pleasing to God (found in His Word), love Him, and serve Him with all our heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 10:12-16) But don’t worry if your heart is fickle, stubborn, hard or irretrievably broken – God will change it, too. (Deuteronomy 30:6) Change is not something we necessarily do but rather what we surrender to. God wants to change our life from broken to beautiful IF we will let Him.
Acts 27:21-26 (NLT)
No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
Now a word of encouragement that may not sound like much, just because you have decided to change and surrendered your life to Jesus Christ does not mean that EVERYTHING will immediately change for the better. Paul warned the captain of the ship not to set sail. He just had a feeling. He was right. When it was clear that they were in clear and present danger, the Lord came to Paul in a dream with Good News. You will all survive…but you’re still going to be shipwrecked. What? Where is the blessing in brokenness? You will be changed. They made it to the island. Close by was the estate of a man named Julius? (Acts 28:7-10) Change is not always comfortable but it will always lead to blessing. It was also produce the Glory of God in our life if we will just learn to submit to it.
Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
There is change in the atmosphere every single day that you wake up with breath in your body. God is working His Plan in your life each day that you are alive. There is purpose in every moment. Change is required to make His Promises and Prosperity a reality in your life. Perfection is the process of completion as we become more like Jesus Christ. When you face situations and circumstances in life that are challenging reach out and embrace the change that is coming in your life rather than trying to hold it altogether. We are in this world but not of it. We are Citizens of Heaven with different rules and regulations wrapped in love that will produce promises and prosperity for God’s Children. With our weak mortal bodies all that we can do is learn to trust Him more.
Colossians 1:6 (NLT)
This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.