CHANGE IS HERE TO STAY!
There are key events in each of our lives that we will identify as being experiences that have introduced major changes of direction both in our churches as well as individually. We all know that change is inevitable. The challenge for us especially as leaders is to be sensitive and bold enough to embrace change when it is needed. Of course we understand the adage “The message never changes but the method can.”
The danger is that the older we become the more resistant we tend to be towards change. We become settled in our routines and way of living and in doing so can create for ourselves a spiritual rut that will only produce a barren wilderness, (after all a rut is only an open grave!) We may not readily admit to being ‘stayed in our ways’, but the reality is all of us can so easily become so set in a methodical routine that we miss the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Change is constant. The Bible tells us that we are being “changed from glory to glory.” So as pilgrims we have to get used to change because change is here to stay!
The wanderings of the Children of Israel gives us an insight about what happens when change is unfolding. In Deuteronomy 1:6-8 we find the challenges about to be faced.
1. Recognise the need to change – verse 6 “You have stayed long enough at this mountain.”
When we hit the comfort zone we start to become lethargic and even apathetic concerning life in general. That’s when God doesn’t take first place and instead of seeking first the kingdom of heaven, we slip into automatic pilot and drift in life, wallowing in self-gratification. This is what happened to the Israelites until God spoke a convicting word jolting them out of their slumber.
William Booth said, “It is impossible to change the future without disturbing the present.” When God speaks, we need to be ready to change.
2. Change is painful – verse 7 “Break camp.”
Graham Cooke says “Broken or crushed? Life in the Spirit is about choosing your pain.” When the Holy Spirit challenges our perspectives and the ideals that we have held for so long, how we respond will determine whether we become crushed or broken before the Lord. Breaking camp is never easy, (often we simply just don’t want to move because we don’t want the pain).
3. Change brings us into unfamiliar territory – verse 7 “Advance.”
God will always lead us in ways we have never been before. This was the same direction that God later gave to Joshua (chapter 3).
4. Change is arduous – verse 7 “Into the hill country.”
Nothing much is achieved without hard work.
5. Change brings new battles – verse 7 “Of the Amorites.”
Someone said, “With every new level we meet a new devil!” How true that is. Don’t allow yourself to think that because you have finished one battle that there isn’t another just around the corner. At the age of 85 Caleb still had battles to fight in taking possession of his inheritance.
6. Change means making new relationships – verse 7 “All the neighbouring peoples.”
We all have those friendships and relationships with people that last for a lifetime. Other friendships are passing acquaintances. The challenge for some people is to break out of the limited circle of friendships that they have become trapped in. Making new friends will bring change, but this is what we are called to do.
7. Believe the prophecies – verse 8 “Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers.”
What God has said, He will do! Standing on the Word of the Lord gives us the confidence to persevere, to endure hardships and to fight the necessary battles that will come. Continually speak out the promises God has given you into every battle and every painful experience.
Don’t stay in comfortable captivity but embrace change when it is needed. Change for you WILL come, because “change is here to stay.”
Phil Cana is the Senior Leader at Sheffield Christian Life Centre in the U.K. and is a member of the LifeLinks Apostolic Council.