Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
I recently came across a quote from George Bernard Shaw that held an impactful truth. “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Many people look to improve their lives. They may want to earn a promotion, have more time for family, look better in the mirror, write poetry, learn how to play an instrument, or volunteer in their community. While all of these and the countless other goals we can share are noble and worthwhile, they all have a common denominator. They all require us to change the things we’re currently doing to give ourselves the chance to do something else, to do it differently and to do it better than before.
As I read this quote, I was taken aback by the power of its simplicity and by how applicable it is to so many areas of our lives.
- Want to become thinner and stronger? Change your diet and exercise routine
- Want to have more money? Change your spending and saving habits
- Want to have more time? Change your schedule to be more accountable
- Want to eliminate a bad habit? Change your patterns and routines
In science we learn that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The same can be said for our ability to change. For every salad and treadmill there is a bowl of ice cream and a couch. For every dollar in the bank there is a sale at the mall. For every spare minute we find there is social media, and for every vice we overcome there are hundreds more waiting to entice us.
We are creatures of habit and the notion of making substantial and sustained progress is often difficult because of our strong desire to avoid change in our lives. Most people like what is familiar. It may not be adventurous, but it is safe. For us to push ourselves out of this pattern we will need a level of strength and motivation that will propel us into starting, encourage us when we feel like stopping, and sustain us until we reach that point where the change becomes our norm and we have truly made progress.
As Christians we turn to God to help us with these things. To some, that may seem a bit surprising. Why would God care about these seemingly minor things? Because to God, they (and we) aren’t minor things! Christ’s words in Luke 12:6-7 demonstrate our value when He says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Our God is a God of details. He created the vastness of the universe and the intricacy of the smallest microorganism with a synergy that can only come from the most intelligent design. We can surely rely upon Him to help us with any concern that we have in our lives. And why are we able to turn to Him with our needs?
Because our great and loving God is UNchanging.
Psalm 102:25-27 describes God’s unchanging nature: “Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but You are the same and Your years have no end.”
James 1:17 describes God’s unchanging love for us: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
And finally, Hebrews 13:8 shows us how God’s Son is also unchanging as it declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
It is in the consistent, unchanging strength of our loving God that we are able to change at all. Our sinful nature is so ingrained into the fabric of our DNA that it makes it difficult for us to have the power to change anything about ourselves. In our fallen world sin is normal, comfortable, and often desirable. It is by God’s grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the sustaining work of the Holy Spirit that we are able to make the greatest change of all – from sinner to saint.
May we always strive to make the changes in our lives that are necessary for us to fulfill the destinies to which we have been called; sharing the word of God with others who are looking to change their lives through the hope found only in Christ Jesus our Lord.