When Change Happens…
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
God has a wonderful way of ministering to us when we need it the most. Not long ago, someone said something to me in a way that it stung a bit. Though they didn’t mean it for harm, it brought up memories of the few times similar words have struck me in the past to the point of wanting to retreat from doing what the Lord has called me to do…helping people. I knew, of course, I wouldn’t stop, but those are the fiery darts that came at me. I think we’ve all gone through it at one time or another. So as I thought about the situation, I decided to turn it over to the Lord, pray for guidance and keep moving forward. By the next morning, God had ministering words of encouragement for me through a few of my favorite Pastors in their devotionals I get through email.
In Genesis 40, we find the king’s cupbearer and baker in jail at the same time Joseph was in jail. Joseph helped them by interpreting their dreams. Though they all were in jail for different reasons, Joseph was able to identify with them and understand their pain. Isn’t that like God? To bring alongside those who have been there and can understand your situation? To lift you up with help or simple words of encouragement. Joseph had asked the cupbearer to remember him to the king when he was restored to his position as Joseph was in jail for a crime he had not committed. Though the cupbearer said he would talk with the king, he forgot and it would be two more years before Joseph would be out of jail. Joseph could have allowed this to stop him from helping other people but he didn’t. God’s plan for him was bigger than he had imagine. He just had to be patient and wait upon the Lord and continue moving in the work God had placed before him in prison.
It’s easy to want to stop doing our jobs when others words and/or actions cause us pain. It’s easy to hold onto those words and actions and consume it, not realizing we are actually consuming poison. We must clean out our filters daily by surrendering the junk to the Lord and by consuming the Word of God which is not only our spiritual medication but our nourishment as well. We must also be careful on what we consume on a daily basis in what we read, listen to and watch on tv, movies, computer, etc. All of these things can be just as poisonous for us if we allow ourselves to consume it.
As the scripture states, when we belong to Christ, we become a new person. That old life has gone and a new life has begun. This means our way of thinking and how we handle things has changed as well, as we see in Romans 12:2:
“ Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We must renew our minds and think differently. If we belong to Christ yet have the same old thought patterns, we will continue on in sin and pain. We must shed that old lifestyle and that old pattern of worldly thinking and now walk two feet in the spirit by reading and applying the Word of God to our situations. We must change how we speak and react to difficult situations.
In order to help us to see the condition of our hearts, there will be times where God will test us, not so He can see what’s in our hearts, but so we can see what is in our hearts and if we’ve changed. He already knows our hearts, but we don’t until we are in situations that either test us to see if we are exercising God’s Word and are healed or are following the same old thought pattern as before. Psalm 26:2-3 states:
“Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”
Through these tests, this is how we know if our hearts have truly changed and healed and our minds renewed or if we still need growth and healing in different areas of our life. When we continue to encounter the same situations over and over, look at it for what it is….God’s way of not only trying to help us to overcome but to get us to see what’s truly in our hearts by our thoughts and our response towards it. When we train for anything, there will be areas in that training that are more difficult for us to do than others. Do we quit and try something else, or do we keep at it until we’ve mastered it and overcome it? We continue at it and this goes for the difficult situations in our lives that continue to pop up. Are we handling it correctly with less pain each time, or do we still allow ourselves to shrink back or hold onto the pain? The choice is ours.
Whatever situation you continue to battle with, don’t give up. Take out your sword, which is the Word of God, and continue battling it until you have overcome through the power of Christ. The more you do this, the stronger you become against it. Do not allow the enemy to speak words of doubt and pain to you. Follow the example of Christ and cut him off with the Word of God and continue on with your mission. Remember, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)!