Friday, July 19, 2013

Change Not?

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. ~Nelson Mandela
 
Change can be good or bad.  But that depends on what you’re changing from and what you’re changing to.

Malachi 3:6 (KJV)  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
 
Proverbs 24:21 (KJV)  My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
 
Luke 13:5 (KJV)  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
 
Malachi and Proverbs tell us that God is unchanging (Thank God!) and that we shouldn’t hang out with those that are changeable.  Yet, Jesus, in the book of Luke, says we’re in deep trouble if we don’t repent (change our mind).  So, is God double minded and, therefore, unstable (James 1:8)?  Hardly. 

If we were running the New York Marathon, we wouldn’t expect success by running from the finish line to the starting line.  But we’d hope for a trophy, going from the starting point to the finishing line.  Moving from one thing to another isn’t inherently good or bad.  What’s more important is what we’re moving away from and what we’re being drawn to. 

When Matthew 6:33 says “seek first”, there are two factors in play.  To seek something, we need to change our focus from something to whatever we’re seeking.  It’s an engine of change.  And “first” tells us to prioritize seeking.  It’s not just an effort on our part, it’s a primary goal.  But, as we know, that goal is a set of things relating to God.

The tail end of Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.”.  In the surrounding verses, we see the people who have just completed building the wall.  It’s declared that this ought to be a holy day, set apart.  We see that God gave them understanding of the Scripture that was read for the holy day.  That understanding brought mourning and sadness.  The people recognized that, despite the feat of building the wall at God’s command, they still fell short.  And that’s when they were told to rejoice because they could live in the joy of being one with God.  The joy came from change.  A change from focus on themselves to a focus on God.

We are imperfect beings.  We don’t have either the completely perfect imperfect instability of Satan, nor the perfectly rock solid stability of God.  But we can move from some level of instability to some level of stability by aiming for God, growing our relationship with Him.  There’s nothing to fear in change itself.  But the nature of the change makes all the difference.  It can bring sadness or joy.  What changes are you aiming at, today?

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