In dark, dramatic colors, He was sketched and painted on a canvas and ornately framed. The image of His suffering elicited a lingering mixture of curiosity and sorrow. Even as a child, who was rarely brought to church, I knew there was something significant about Jesus. I tucked that wonder inside my small heart, and there it lay dormant for years.
Without much knowledge of Jesus, I wandered spiritually. It wasn’t until I met my husband, who knew Him well, that my soul came to a full faith. My faith has looked different through the years as my life changed. Life does that, doesn’t it? Change happens. Things and people change. Like you, my life has been filled with loves and losses, as well as struggles and success.
I can’t profess that I do change well—because I don’t. I’ve got witnesses to prove it. But I can tell you that I have undergone profound change in my life: body, mind, heart and soul. I am not the same person I was 30 years ago, neither am I the same person I was last year or even yesterday. I will always be Karyn, but I will never be the same. It’s the same for you – you can’t help but change. But you can help HOW you change and God wants to be a part of that.
There are so many aspects of change to delve into that I’ve decided to create a blog series. Be adventurous with me as we follow the Holy Spirit and examine, in small doses, different facets of change. Today let’s begin with the basics.
Think with me for a moment about all the many characteristics of change.
- We change our minds
- Change clothes
- Change jobs
- Change plans
- Change tires
- Change roles
- We make change
- And experience seasons of change.
Some change is BIG.
Some of the biggest change has happened in my lifetime:
- Human Space Travel
- Color television
- Heart transplants
- Plastic grocery bags
- Cell phones
- Mammal cloning
Some change is LITTLE
like what we do to our hair. (If you’re wondering, it took 9 months, 5 stylists and, at some points, was a painful exercise in vanity!)
The truth is that there’s ONE CONSTANT in life and that one constant is CHANGE. Not only is there big change and little change, there is good change and bad change too. But, our response to change is as varied as we are, because change is subjective; we don’t always agree on what’s good or bad change.
The circumstances of change may be subjective, but typically the elements of what makes change good or bad are more universal.
- Change that affirms us and makes us feel good:
- Events or people who validate our abilities, or who we are. Such as a job promotion, marriage, or meeting goals. As well as change that supports our belief about how we should be treated.
- Change that meets or exceeds our expectations and that we can control:
- Such as vacation experiences or retirement plans.
- Bad change is change that does not affirm us, or make us feel good:
- Divorce, job loss, or kids leaving for college.
- We also don’t like change that makes us feel bad, or change that we can’t control.
- Loss of a loved one, illness, or societal issues.
While there is a lot of change mentioned in the Bible, God doesn’t speak directly about big change, little change, good change and bad change. He mentions change in only two categories: Him and us.
God does NOT change and He says so Himself!
- I Samuel 15:29
- He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man that he should change his mind.
- Psalm 110:4
- The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind
- James 1:17
- The Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
- Malachi 3:6
- I the Lord do not change.
A.W. Tozer, a 20th century Chicago minister and theologian said: All that God is he has always been, and all that he has been and is he will ever be. Nothing that God has ever said about himself will be modified; nothing the inspired prophets and apostles have said about him will be rescinded. His immutability guarantees this. In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape.
Change in our world never changes God. But change in our world changes us. We are creatures that change. We are designed to change. Most importantly, God expects us to change – He says so right here:
- Jeremiah 7:5 (To the nation of Israel)
- …change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly….
- Matthew 18:3
- Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
- II Corinthians 5:17
- Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!
- I Corinthians 15:51
- I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep but we will all be changed – In a flash in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Our UNCHANGEABLE God calls us TO CHANGE. Thankfully, our ability to change is a saving grace.
The kind of change God wants from us is different than the big change, little change, good change and bad change. God calls us to transformational change and He sent His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit to help us accomplish this.
In the Message translation, Romans 12:1 & 2 says, So, here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Is there something that Jesus is calling you to change in your life? What patterns keep you from looking more like Him, every day? I followed these questions down a God-carved path in my heart. His greatest work in me has been the UNLEARNING that I’ve experienced and will share with you throughout this series.
As Christians, God is calling us to be more intentional. Ephesians 5:1 says, Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do because you are His dear children. Knowing Christ more and more each day leads to this type of transformational change.
So, while your unchangeable God calls you to change, the good news is that He wants to be at the center of it all. Change is your saving grace and God doesn’t leave you on your own. In Christ you can change, and you will change as you learn to imitate Him.
Stick with the series as we plunge the depths of change in specific areas and learn how to actually implement that change in your life. For now, drink in the truth about our unchangeable God who calls us to change.
Jesus has become more to me than the sorrowful martyr I first met in that painting as a child. His sacrifice is ultimate, for sure, but He offers so much more than salvation. He is the author of change and can help you change whatever is holding you back from living in His peace and power. His call to change holds the most promise you will ever see this side of heaven. Your ability to imitate Him is truly one of His most wonderful gifts. Accept it, embrace it, and commit to the work that goes along with it. Take it from me, you will never regret it.
Want to imitate Christ better? Consider a few coaching sessions to help you create a vision for what that would look, and a plan to achieve it! As a Christian Life Coach, I can help you move from where you are to where God wants you to be. If you’d like to explore this further, then let’s chat. I’d love to be your champion in what God is calling you to do!
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