Friday, June 24, 2022

Time for Change - Martin Wiles

Then in the twelfth year he (Josiah) began to purify Judah and Jerusalem, destroying all the pagan shrines, the Asherah poles, and the carved idols and cast images. 2 Chronicles 34:3 NLT

“We need to change the . . .”

I had heard the words before—and would hear them again. At present, I had just been called as pastor of a small church whose previous pastor had been there quite some time. During his stay, not much had changed. After his resignation, the deacons passed out survey forms, asking the church members what changes they would like. Sure enough, the lists were long. Since my wife and I had previously been members of the church, I had my own list. Interestingly, mine matched those of the church members.

One change related to music. For years, choir members had sung the same songs, and the congregation rotated through the same hymns and praise songs. A few weeks after I began my duties, the music minister resigned. I asked a younger lady to lead the music, thinking she’d be able to help the church make a smooth transition to some new songs and styles of songs. Wrong.

In no time at all, complaints arose. And from some of the same people who said they wanted a change. I discovered they only thought they wanted to change. When they saw how it would look, they weren’t ready. Learning new songs took work, practice, and mistakes.

Several years later, just before my resignation, the church decided to return to the old songs. The church needed change—but doing so was too difficult. Staying the same was easier.

Eight-year-old King Josiah faced a nation that needed to change also. God’s people had fallen into worshipping false gods, and their representations were everywhere. God instructed Josiah to tear down the false idols and cleanse the land of idol worship. A great revival took place because he wanted to change—and so did the people.

Changes fill our lives. We can attempt to live change-free, but we’ll never master it. Even if we don’t personally change on purpose, circumstances will force us. Sometimes, spiritual change is even more difficult. God convinced Josiah of the need to change, and He does the same for us—in whatever area the change needs to happen. Maybe with our habits or friends.

God didn’t force Josiah or the people to change, and He won’t force us either, but He has a way of making us uncomfortable if we don’t. Especially if our failure to change keeps us in sinful habits or prevents us from fulfilling His plan. He gives us the freedom to balk and refuse, but He also has the power to discipline and make our lives miserable.

When God prompts us to change, He has a good reason. Viewing change as an exciting new adventure into His best makes those transitions easier.

If God leads you to change, trust Him to guide you through it.

Prayer: Father, give us the courage to step into Your desired changes. 

Tweetable: Is it time for you to do some changing?

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