Have you ever heard someone say, "Something needs to change!" Or maybe you've said it yourself. It's easy to feel this way when life gets stressful and we're overwhelmed, like when our schedules are too full, we're working too hard, and we have too many commitments.
So what do we do when life is out of order and we need a change? Much of the time we complain and say we want change, yet we don't do anything about it. We know something needs to change, but we get stuck in procrastination or a passive mode, waiting for someone else to do what we need to do. Some people get angry, some have a victim mentality and blame others for their mess, some get depressed, and others just sink into self-pity.
What we need to do during these times is get stirred up with a determination that comes from the Holy Spirit in us and declare, "I'm going to do what I can do to change this!" As Christians, we're partners with God; this means He has a part and we have a part. And the simple truth is, if we will do what we can do, God will do what we cannot do.
Let Go of the Past and Get a New Beginning
I was in my late thirties when my eyes were opened to truth in God's Word that showed me I wasn't living the abundant life Jesus died for me to have. I had a very negative mindset and was miserable most of the time because of the abuse I had experienced throughout my childhood. But as I spent time studying the Word, I began to see that I needed to do something besides complain about my past. I realized that I needed to change, and I needed the power of God's Word to work in me so I could change the way I think and talk, and so I could get a godly attitude. It was time for a new beginning in my life!
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it?..." (AMP). This made me realize that I couldn't get those years back that were filled with abuse and make them right, but I could get them off my mind.
God is doing a new thing! Notice that in this scripture He says "I am doing a new thing," not "I will" or "I could" or "I might." God has good plans for our lives and He wants to do a new thing in us and through us today. But if you're stuck in the past, thinking about the bad things that happened to you or the things you regret and can't do anything about, then you won't see what God is doing right now.
How Do We Change?
In John 15:5 (AMP), Jesus says, "I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing." I love this scripture because it reminds me that God doesn't expect me to change on my own. He is the power source and gives us the grace and strength we need to do what's right and make changes in our lives.
Here's how we cooperate with Him, doing what we can do to bring about change:
1. We hear the truth in God's Word and we're convicted by it. It's the Word that shows us who we are and reveals the sin in our lives. We have to realize what we're doing wrong before we can know what needs to change and how.
2. Then we repent of our sin. Being repentant means we're sincerely sorry and willing to turn away from it.
3. The next step is to study the Word in the area we need change. For example, if I have a problem with anger, I need to study scriptures about anger and forgiveness. Use the Word like medicine and take it into your heart and mind. There is power in God's Word to bring change to our souls!
God Will Reward You
Change is a process, and it's often a lengthy one. It usually doesn't happen overnight, but if we're determined to trust God and obey His Word, He will be faithful to give us the grace and strength we need to do what we can do and experience the changes He has for us. The key is for us to focus on God and the good things. Don't get stuck in your past, mourning for things you can't change or get back.
Remember that God "is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV). He is a God of justice and recompense, and He wants to give you a twofold blessing for your trouble (see Isaiah 61:7-8). God loves you! Seek Him diligently and experience the righteousness, peace and joy He wants you to have today.