Change or Chains

 It’s time for us to stand firm. We’re going to have to fight for it.

Change is one of the most difficult things that we will endure in our lives.  In the excitement and hope of this new year, many of us have decided now is the time to make THE CHANGE.  I am excited if you are one of those!  And I am rooting you on!  Change can be difficult because we’re going from something which is known and comfortable to something that is unknown and uncomfortable.  When we decide to change, the beginning is always the hardest part.  Change often means that we are moving towards something that will better our lives in one way or another; whether or not we acknowledge or believe that it is better for us.


Sometimes change means we’re striving to become better in one way or another.  It feels like the right thing to do.  In pursuit of change we are actually living more like God would have us live.  People never strive to become heavier, spend more money, be a horrible person, etc.  Whether or not we admit it, change is used by God to refine us.
We are fighting powers and principalities in this world that are unseen to the human eye that are going to hold you back and continue to keep you from making those changes you long for.  This is specially difficult at the beginning.  And it HURTS!  The pain that comes from change is very difficult to bear and is often times the reason many people stop the process of change.
Sometimes the change that is necessary for us to make is the type of change that is actually forced upon us.  For instance, an ultimatum given in a relationship, a change in job duties or title that comes from somebody that has more authority you, or the insecurity and anxiety that comes from losing a job,  where if we don’t make a change there are severe consequences.  Or even a devastating medical diagnosis that changes EVERYTHING.  Maybe our change is the direct result of unwillingness or lack of change in our past that has brought on circumstances that require our attention.
The shock of change is painful on a physical, mental and spiritual level.  Knowing the change is necessary or preferred does not change the fact that we need to let ourselves mourn who we used to be.  It is hard telling yourself yes to what you don’t desire and no to what you do.  But it gets easier as we go.  And the best part of change is we are not alone, our Creator and loving God cares about us and is there to help us through.  God’s word says he will never leave us or forsake us.
Often times people are going to see something different about us as the change becomes more visible.  Changing eating habits at the staff meeting, clothes becoming more loose, our confidence building, our strength building, our discipline and/or behavior change.  However, there are going to be those that don’t take notice.  They have known you, and they don’t believe it until they’ve seen change consistently.  The book of Isaiah captures this poignantly:  “Behold I am doing a new thing.  Do you not perceive it? It will be rivers in the desert and like a path through the wilderness” (43:19).  We are excited because our change can bring us joy like water in the desert or the comfort of a path found in the wilderness.  We want to share it!  To us, the little plant has sprouted forth, others may not be able to see it yet.  Don’t allow others to discourage you and get you off course.  They will see eventually.
God, in the previous passage, is referring to Jesus, who was walking change.  His arrival was the passing of the old way and beginning of the new way.  Even some of His own siblings rejected Him.  When things get too difficult to bear, and they either are or will, it becomes overwhelming and too difficult, we don’t have to carry that burden on our own.  Jesus died so that we don’t have to carry those burdens ourselves.  God raised Jesus from the dead!  If God can raise the life of his only son Jesus from the dead, how much more can he protect us, save us, and take the burden that we have off of us.  Our struggle is nothing compared to the wonders and majesties of God.
One of the biggest challenges in change is how it tests our faith.  Not only the faith that we have in ourselves in believing whether or not we have the audacity and the capability to change, but also the testing of our faith that when we come to the places beyond where we have ever been, that God is there.  Even those places of discomfort, He is there.  The testing of our faith may look different for others and that’s ok.  He will save us regardless of the situation that we face.  Believe it or not God knows what’s best for us; so even the setbacks, the times that we’re knocked down (which will come and be many) we need to stand our feet firm and trust God at his word.  We need boldness and courage to believe that he will do what he says he’s going to do.  Regardless of the change that we are making in our lives, God is the one who is unchanging.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  He is the Alpha and Omega.  He knows that the change that you’re making is going to benefit you in ways you’ve never imagined.
7.  BREAK EVERY CHAIN                                                       chains
Much of Jesus’ ministry is about change.  Breaking us from what we have been doing to what we need to be doing.  Taking care of people, loving people, setting aside rules, and caring for each other.  Every life is valuable regardless of stature and position regardless of income, regardless of job duties or title.  Each one of us is equally loved by God and because of God’s love demonstrated in Jesus, we have eternal life.  Sometimes a change comes from an encounter with Jesus himself, as is the case with me.  The change that comes from Jesus brings peace to our souls inside the storm.  We get to walk on water where others sink.  We get to be free of the chains holding us back.
8. RISE 
It’s time for us to stand firm. We’re going to have to fight for it.  We must not let the smallest gust of wind knock us over.  Or a comment from someone else, discourage us and halt our progression.  We can’t let the attacks of the enemy hold us back and shackle us back inside the prison walls.  But instead we have to tell ourselves “well, that just happened and it was really painful, but it’s time for me to stand back up again.  It’s time for me to move forward.”  As a result, the time between a setback or fall and our rising again will become shorter and shorter.  That is the progress of change, certainly there will be times when we fall down but it’s how long it takes to get back up that matters.  That is true victory!  Jesus is the only provider of everlasting change.  He heals the lame and the sick.  That those who had not been able to walk before Him are now walking, jumping and praising the Lord.  You can’t go back to not being able to walk after that—it is permanent and lasting change!
You can do it!!!