I love books! Over the years I have accumulated a collection of interesting volumes including first editions and author signed copies. While you may find comfort playing golf or Minecraft, I am comfortable reading. Some of the books that I keep nearest my desk include several translations of the Bible, Webster's University Dictionary, Ravenel's English reference book, Vines Dictionary of Bible Words, Wood's Rhyming Dictionary, and Roget's International Thesaurus. As a public speaker, I am always on the hunt for the correct word at the appropriate time. These books serve as sage counselors as I prepare teachings to communicate with my fellow learners. As you know, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21)." It is important to speak wisely and make every word count.
One of the most traumatic words that I use is the word "change." Few people like to change anything. I know people who drive cars that they dispise just because they don't want to go through the drudgery of shopping, bargaining, and buying another car. They would rather be miserable in that old rattle-trap than change! Does that sound like you or someone you know?
Recently, I learned that iTunes will no longer accept a username with an Aol connection. I had to slosh my way through the techo-jungle of Apple to change my username and password. This required me to obtain an acceptable new email address before I could even start to make the change. Let's just say that the trade-off between the time I spent making the change and what was acquired was not a good value for me. Change is usually a lot of work that forces you outside of your comfort zone, and only rarely is worth the fuss.
That's why when the Bible talks about spiritual change, people get nervous and uptight. Even though we may be miserable as we are, the change process just does not sound like a good value for the trauma it will require. But let me assure you, any change you make for Christ is worth it. Unfortunately, many current preachers have found that calling for spiritual changes just upsets their congregation. So, it is more acceptable to preach a gospel that placates the listeners and assures them that everything is going to work out all right....without uncomfortable personal change. But that "feels good" message is not true. In fact, it does an eternal disservice to spiritually needy people.
Jesus preached reformation and regeneration. He stood against the status quo and pushed for converted thinking and transformed action. Indeed, Jesus told Nicodemus (John 3:3) that he had to be....get ready.... BORN AGAIN! Now that's radical change. If we are going to please God and become (and remain) a part of His Family, we are going to have to allow the Holy Spirit to change our heart, and mind, and spirit - TOTAL TRANSFORMATION - often! You cannot add Christianity to your miserable life and think everything will be ok. Jesus pointed this out in Luke 5:36-39. New patches on old garments and new wine in old containers will not work. Radical change is required to be successful in your spiritual walk. Paul taught in 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" A new creation requires constant change.
Sorry if this disappoints you, but it's the truth. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can continue thinking and acting like a sinner, and still achieve an overcoming victorious Christian life. I challenge you today to break away from the old life, and reach for that overcoming life Christ offers.
Questions or additional thoughts? Do you agree or disagree? Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and join the conversation. I have time for you! God bless you.