Change is something we generally talk about at the beginning of a new year. Resolutions and goals and all that jazz are discussed at length.
However, change doesn’t stick to just one season. It’s something that happens every minute of every day. Sometimes that changes are self-motivated and other times life forces us to change.
Today, I want to talk about the changes we make deliberately.
I once read this quote by James Montgomery Boice, “Many people… do not show growth in their walks with Jesus Christ because they do not want to change the way they are living. At times they might even be moved to tears by their failures. But they do not surge ahead because basically they want to do exactly as they have been doing.”
I had a basketball coach who put it like this, “If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
Change can be difficult for anyone in any circumstance. No matter the circumstance, we don’t really want to make a change deliberately — especially the good and healthy changes.
Maybe we need to change our ways with regards to a habit, money, a career, or even the way in which we approach God. Something in us knows that we need to make the change but the follow-through isn’t exactly easy. We end up as our own worst enemy.
Sure, we may feel a tug and even run to the Altar crying out to God to change us. But we walk out of the door and continue doing the same things. We don’t rid ourselves of the things that keep us in that rut.
God rarely takes the very thing that we need to change away from us. He supplies us with the strength and knowledge to do that ourselves. Changing the thing that needs to be changed requires more than just a statement of wanting to change. It requires a plan.
Here are 6 steps that I’ve found helpful in making a change healthy and in a Godly manner.
1.Seek God’s input
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 2
God’s Word may not lay out every scenario but consult Him and His Word to find the things that you need to change. Scripture is clear that our bodies are His Temple so do we need to alter our eating habits, exercise routines, or body image? We’re also reminded to flee from the appearance of evil (physically or sexually) so what needs to change there?
I collect passages from Scripture as direction but also as encouragement. This helps me when I begin to grow discouraged or weary. I remind myself that God has called me to live differently and I soak in the encouragement found in my Bible.
2.Follow the Leader
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps. 1 Peter 2:21
At this point, it’s become cliche to the point of being meaningless but it shouldn’t — asking the question What Would Jesus Do? should still have value. Jesus, who was fully God, would make a point of spending daily time in Scripture and in prayer. I think that if Jesus, who was also fully man, needed that time with the Father then so do we.
Our time in Scripture keeps us properly grounded. It re-trains our thinking so we think less like the world and more like Jesus. Bible and prayer time allows us to be filled with the things of God and it builds a protective barrier around us so the schemes of the Devil are weakened.
3.Lean on God’s strength & Pray without ceasing
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4: 13
It’s only through God’s strength that we can make Godly changes. It’s imperative to trust Him. Pray often for strength and wisdom. If a habit doesn’t seem to want to kick, don’t give up! Acknowledge God’s ability to overcome any situation and pray for help without ceasing. (Matthew 6:13 & 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
I should point out, “praying something away” isn’t as simple as it sounds. You can pray many hours for a habit to change and you still might be tempted. It’s okay! Pray for strength to fight the temptation. And don’t ever forget — praise God for the victory that’s coming!
4.Read the Good Book
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, then you will have good success. Joshua 1: 8
The Bible is beneficial at all times. Granted, I don’t know how much inspiration you’ll find in Numbers but if Scripture was good enough for Jesus to use when He was tempted then it certainly is good enough for us. (Matthew 4: 1-11)
Saturate yourself in His Word. Fill yourself up. Practice memorizing Scripture. Speak those verses into any situation. The Bible is the recorded words of God so I’d say they’re pretty darn important and hold quite a bit of power.
5.Walk with a friend
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16
We were never meant to walk the road of Christianity alone. This doesn’t mean that you go around discussing your struggles with every person that claims to be a Christian but do find someone that you can partner with.
This partner can keep you accountable and pray with you. You may only need a friend who will keep you accountable with your Bible reading or you may need a professional to help you overcome a much stronger addiction problem.
However, as my mom used to say, “to have a friend, you need to be a friend.” It’s not all about you. Yes, your struggle is hard but a friendship is two sided. Remember that. 🙂
6.Game Plans take time
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15: 15
Establish what actions need to be taken to make a change and stick with those actions. However, one day of building does not complete a house. Things take time to develop and process. You’ll have to face temptations wanting to pull you back into bad habits, discouragement, and frustrations. Hold the course and be patient. Continue to do the good and one day you will reap the rewards. (Galatians 6:9)
Change is hard. Change that makes us more like Jesus is even harder because all the forces of hell want us to quit. But you can do it! With God all things are possible!!