The one thing that is a constant in life is change! In fact, the one thing we know for sure about our future is we are predestined to experience change and it should be a positive, healthy, enjoyable process. As Romans 8:29 says, For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. It is our destiny to be like Jesus; therefore, we never stop changing, growing, and developing! The legalist sees this as a burden and the liberal sees it as controlling. Both are wrong. This is the wonderful journey we make in life that brings glory to the Lord Jesus!
It is through this process we call “change” that we move from where we are to where we want to go. For God to move you to a better quality of life He will not work in your circumstances as much as He will work in you personally. If I do not become who I need to be, I cannot function in the new levels of success that God has for me. If circumstances change to make my life better, the improvements will never last; either I or the people involved will destroy them. But if I improve in my character, understanding, self-control, or some other area, my life changes are permanent! So personal change is a wonderful journey that brings me to the best God has!
One would think with change being a life-long process we would be better at it than we are. But our fear of the unknown coupled with our lack of trust for God makes it something we seem to dread and fear! We can, however, master change and make it a truly enjoyable, effortless process. Understanding how we got where we are helps us to understand how we get from here to a more desirable destination. Most of the permanent changes that have come into our life are unintentional. They were beliefs that only served us as children in a specific environment. Then we become adults and the beliefs that once served and protected us are dysfunctional in the adult world. Then we spend the rest of our lives struggling to make healthy changes! We are then faced with the fact that we don’t want to change or we don’t believe we can change!
When we came to Jesus we received the power to change everything in our life. We have deposited in us the capacity to be the person we choose to be; yet, few people ever realize this incredible opportunity. In fact, believers are frustrated and Charismatic and Word of Faith believers are probably the most frustrated! Why? Because we know the promises! We know what should and could be happening; we just don’t really get much of it to work! Information that doesn’t work doesn’t bring freedom, it brings torment and frustration!
There are two prerequisite beliefs essential to begin the process of positive change. First, we are not changing to earn God’s love; we are changing because of the benefit it will bring to us! Second, we must realize all things are possible through believing! (Mark 9:23) Not only are all things possible by believing, all things exist or come to be the way they are by believing! This is the first law of faith and the first law of creation!
We all have the power to create life the way we choose. We might not choose the outcome but, you can be sure, we choose the process. We chose the life we now have because we chose the process, how we would do what we do! We didn’t know the choices we made would have the consequences. We didn’t know we could have made other choices. But we did make the choices. We chose a process, a way of doing things that made sense to us. It felt familiar and safe! It may have even worked when we were children, but now we are attempting to manage adult responsibilities with the same processes that served us as children!
The way we chose to do things as children was based on the environment, the people, and situations we didn’t choose. We didn’t choose the environment that influenced our choices. We didn’t choose our parents, their values, or their generationally inherited dysfunction. Unfortunately, no one told us that we could make new heart choices that would forever change the pattern of our life. But you can make new choices and those choices can end generations of dysfunction. The Bible says it starts with repentance, i.e. changing our minds! We can change our minds about the life we live. We can choose another life and then we can change our heart, and our life will change! The amazing thing about making choices is this: when we make a choice while trusting God He begins to show us how to fulfill that choice. We don’t have to know how we will do what we want to do; we just need to know what we want. We have to make new choices!
There are reasons why we have such difficulty making these new choices. The first is homeostasis, that state of equilibrium that keeps everything normal. Our conscious mind justifies and rationalizes the beliefs of the heart. In other words, my intellectual mind keeps giving me reasons and excuses for why my life is the way it is. Since we tend to be more familiar and trusting of our intellect than we are the Word of God we accept these reasons as valid. After all, they make sense; they are logical and “factual.”
We think we have reached these views through an intellectual process. We think we have gathered information and made an informed decision. But the truth is the only information that leads us to any limited decision is doubt! Doubt is not, after all, the disbelief of the Word of God; it is simply when we believe something other than the Word of God as an option. Doubt is when we choose between “two.” We are quite comfortable looking at the evidence we have spent our lives gathering. If we haven’t applied God’s Word and seen it work we have no evidence for His options. And since we believe what we have the evidence to believe, we tend to go with what we have always known over something we’ve never tried, even if the way we have done it has never worked!
When facing change our mind seeks to preserve our ego, our false sense of self. In a nanosecond our mind reviews everything we have ever done, everything we have tried and failed, our assessment of life, and all of our fears that make all the limitations in the natural world seem realistic! Before we even have a conscious awareness of this process we reach a conclusion. Our mind has led us to make a decision based on the need to protect our ego! We tend to make all of our choices based on our fears from the past rather than our hope in God’s promises!
To go where we’ve never gone, to live life on better terms, to do what we’ve never done is a venture into the unknown. Anything unknown is treated as a threat, i.e. fear! And it is a threat! It is a threat to our sense of normal, our ego, our homeostasis! When the mind starts thinking thoughts that exceed the accepted norms of the heart, they upset our sense of balance!
There is another predominant limiting factor to change: we want to control the process. We want to go where we’ve never been but we want to draw our own map. The problem is, however, if we’ve never been there we don’t know the map. We don’t know how to get there but we find a false sense of security in doing something our way. But as Proverbs 16:25 elucidates, There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Just because it seems to be right doesn’t mean it’s even close! But we will choose a path we have traveled even if it doesn’t get us to the desired destination simply because it is familiar.
Religion and faith are basically a struggle about the process, the way something is done. Religion has tried, since Cain and Abel, to choose the way that seems right to man. Faith, on the other hand, trusts the way, the process, that God says. All religious people want what God offers, but they want to get it the way that makes sense to them. People of faith, on the other hand, trust God’s Word and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit! Everyone wants to know God but not everyone wants Him by faith! We try to choose the process that validates our current beliefs and sustains our sense of self. This deceptive process insures we will never change. In fact, after we fail it ensures we will stop trying to change!
The struggle between true spirituality and religion is always about believing. Religion always comes up with some logical process that makes sense to the carnal reasoning and always circumvents or, in some way, distorts trusting God. It is here that our struggle to be god of our own world emerges. The writer of Proverbs said, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5) We want the process to fit our understanding!
We want to trust God but control the process. But if you don’t trust God’s way, you really don’t trust God. You can’t choose the end God promises and the process you desire. We must trust that our Shepherd will lead us along the appropriate path to the promised outcome. Verses 6-7 of the passage from Proverbs goes on to say, In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes. In essence we are saying, “God, I will only trust You if You do it my way!” But today you can choose to trust God’s ways even though you might not yet know them. But trust starts with a choice!
When we want a better income we want to get it through the job we have; we don’t want the pain of changing jobs. But what if you are as far as you can go on your current job? When we want a loving future we want it with the person we think will make us happy. But what if we are really bad at selecting potential mates? What if our omniscient Father can see that there is someone who could make you happy for life? We are like the woman with the issue of blood, “My miracle will only happen if it happens the way I think it should.” While God is attempting to lead along the path to His promises we resist because it isn’t the way we want it to happen. It isn’t the process we know and it isn’t the process we trust!
Our sense of security must be in the goodness of God, not the process that makes us feel safe. I understand the need for safety, but safety while on a cruise ship is in the way we feel about the ship and the crew, even though we really know nothing about sailing. It’s the same every time we get on an airplane. If we had to understand everything that occurred in flight and make every decision we would probably crash the plane. We’ve got to settle down in God and know that He will get us there. And since we are going where we have never gone toward a better career, a loving mate, or a life of purpose and destiny, we don’t know how to get there, but He does!
God has a way that ALWAYS WORKS; it’s called believing. It has worked for you all your life. You may have wished for some things that didn’t happen but, be assured, you became everything you believed about yourself. As surely as believing has brought you to where you are, it will take you where you want to go.
This article is based on the eight message series entitled: What to Do When You’ve Done It All and Nothing Seems to Work! For more information click here!