My friend, Jim Dorn, shared this story with me a couple of years ago.
There was a family that lived out “in the sticks”, far from civilization. One day the family made their first trip to the “big city” and visited a mall. They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and back together again.
The boy asked his father, “Pop, what is this?”
The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, “Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don’t know what it is.”
While the boy and his father were watching, an old lady in a wheel chair rolled up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened and the lady rolled between them and into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched small circles of light with numbers above the wall light up. They continued to watch the circles light up in the reverse direction. The walls opened up again and a beautiful 24-year-old woman stepped out.
With an excited and wide-eyed look the father turned and said, “Quick! Son, go get your mother!”
Our word of the week is “Change.”
I just finished a week-end series with a wonderful church the D.C. area, The Dulles church of Christ. Their theme for 2014 is “The Next Step.” And to tie in with that theme they asked me to speak on: “Spiritual Leadership: Every Believer’s Commitment to Growth.” We discussed influence. Partnership. Attitude. Character. And Growth. The brethren were receptive. Encouraging. And displayed a sincere, genuine interest in spiritual development.
However, for that church, or their individual members to take ‘The Next Step,” they must change! And so must you and I!
Change is challenging. Difficult. And often arduous. It’s take time. Requires effort. And demands patience. Persistence. And perseverance.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Christians, they had lots of issues to correct. The first letter details problem areas in their relationships. Attitudes. And even morals. But Paul was firm. He identified specific changes they needed in order to improve. Grow. And please God.
When Paul wrote the second Corinthian letter, he admitted that it hurt to write the first one. But then he said, “I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to repent and change your ways.” (2 Cor 7:9, NLT).
God wants us to change our ways!
When we commit our lives to Christ it requires change. We are commanded to “Grow in grace and in knowledge” (2 Pet. 3:18). When we became Christians there was a change in relationship–from serving Satan to serving the Lord (Rom 6:17-18). Attitudes were changed to emulate the mind of Jesus (Phil. 2:5). And lifestyle changes were affected. (Eph. 4:22-24)
The challenge to change is one, however, that we all tend to resist. Leo Tolsoy, the Russian novelist, put it this way, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Author and lecturer Gail Sheehy once said, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow we are not really living.” Jesus came that we might enjoy an abundant life. A full life. A complete life. In Him. Failure to grow and change will result in a life that is stagnant. Static. And unfulfilling.
Examine yourself and ask, “How do I need to change?” “What do I need to change?”
Do I need to change it in the area of Bible knowledge? Discernment? Conviction? Commitment? Ministry? Faith? Lifestyle? Relationships?
George Eliot wrote, “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.” And with God’s help you can choose to change. For the better.
The Bible says, “a change of heart (is) produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people” (Rom 2:29, NLT)
Have a great week of change!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman