“Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.”
The challenge is that change asks you to let go of old ways of doing things and to embrace a new way that is often uncertain, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable. And that can be stressful. But change isn’t supposed to create comfort; it is supposed to create growth. One of the main reasons people don’t change is their unwillingness to embrace the productive discomfort that is a natural part of the change and growth process.
Christians should be very good at change. In fact, the Christian life begins with repentance, which is the decision to change your thinking and your behavior in response to the call of Christ. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’” (Mark 1.14-15).
The word “repentance” in Greek literally means “change of thinking,” which then empowers change of behavior.
The process of continuous growth and transformation is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian. Continuous, progressive change is what the Lord seeks to do in our life; transformation is one of the primary functions of the Holy Spirit in our life. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3.17-18).
Despite the change that is happening all around us, it is easy to get caught in the gravitational pull of old habits. And while it is tempting to seek comfort and security in what is familiar, that can be dangerous in a highly competitive and rapidly-moving world. The question is, how are you going to respond to change? Here are some options:
1) Ignore new realities.
Many choose this approach, but pretending that change isn’t happening or hoping it will go away is a recipe for disaster. Sooner or later you will experience the full impact of the new realities, and if you have not made adjustments, you will get crushed.
2) Get angry.
This is also a common reaction, and it is never successful. Getting angry will not make the change go away, but it will make you much less effective at dealing with change.
3) Try to run away from it.
As the saying goes, you can run but you can’t hide. Change is everywhere. I have met people who quit their job to take a new role that they thought requires less change, only to discover that their new work environment is also going through transformation. There is no place you can run that is immune to change.
4) Respond and make the changes you need to make. Adjust & adapt.
This is what life in Christ requires. This is what the Lord demands of us. Keep in mind that as followers of Christ, we are called to be agents of transformation in the world. We must allow God to empower change in us, and then to empower change through us. This is our calling; it is our very purpose as people who claim Christ as Lord. Resisting change is foolish; it is also disobedient.
It’s an inescapable reality: things change. Here’s another reality: life will get increasingly difficult for people who don’t change. Nothing changes until we do.
Trust God. Adjust & adapt.