Inherent throughout the Bible is a theme of change. It is clear that God expects change. Ever since the Fall – when Adam and Eve ate that “apple” – God has expected change in us. (By the way, have you ever wondered why Apple’s logo depicts an apple with a bite out of it? I have. No answer, yet!)
Change. Grow. Learn. Turn. Transform. All Bible themes. Change is defined as to make or become different. From an oil change in your car to the “change of life,” change is inevitable.
It was when I was thinking about the tires on my car being changed that Facebook popped a “People You May Know” scroll on my screen. I began thinking about people and change. As I pondered, I sort of identified four “change groups” of people. Remember, change is biblical and God expects it.
One often quoted Scripture is John 3:3: “Unless you are born again”. . . Born again? Regenerated? Changed? . . . “you can’t see the Kingdom of God.” Wow, that’s the initial big change. Then, continuous transformation should occur as we grow. No growth might mean no real initial experience. God expects ongoing change throughout our life. He will provide the opportunities and means to keep us changing and growing. He does, however, allow us the choice to accept or decline His direction.
The first group I identified are those who won’t change. The Pharisees epitomize this. They are stubborn, defiant and rebellious. Their mindset is: “we have always done it this way.” Psalm 55:19 puts it this way: “because they do not change, therefore they do not fear God.” Clearly no change happening here!
The second group I noticed are those that are too comfortable to change. Some like the attention their current situation brings. The Pharisees liked getting the best seats, their titles and adulations from people (Mt. 23:5-7). Some people even settle for and live on negative attention. Others won’t risk what change might cost them – position, reputation, friends. And, some won’t change because, let’s face it, changing might take a lot of work and that would be uncomfortable!
The third group identified are those who can’t change. Due to some trauma or damage in their childhood, their souls stopped developing. But God’s got a plan for them. We need to love, be a friend and be a seed planter as God calls us into their lives.
Those who will change are the fourth group. They are the ones who will allow God to: “take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender responsive heart” (Ezekiel 36:26). For example, the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). He accepted humbling. Or, how about Mary Magdalene: she allowed herself to be broken of her old ways (Luke 8:2-3) and was rewarded. The Bible places her at the crucifixion and burial of Jesus; and was the very first to see the risen Lord (Mark 16:9-11). Also in John 4, the Samaritan woman was so weary of her old way of life that she joyfully accepted the new life changes that Jesus offered.
So, bottom line – what DOES God want?
He wants surrender, change, changed lives, repentance, personal revival and spiritual growth. Although God will not beg us, His compassionate heart hurts when we don’t respond. As the story of the rich young ruler (Luke 18:18) shows us, God gives us the choice – no begging, no forcing. Remember, He gave us free will, so the ball is always in our court.
Let’s be the prodigal running to the Father’s open arms. Let’s BE the man or woman saying “yes God” as the chains are broken off. Let’s BE the child of God who trusts that the changes He wants are actually gifts from a loving Father.
Let’s Be Game Changers!