Why is change difficult?
I recently attended an educational seminar where the chart above was presented. It attempts to break down the steps needed to implement successful change. If change does not occur, it is because one or more of the steps were omitted. Although originally presented to assist educators who work with individuals with special needs, I found the chart to be illuminating when I applied it my own spiritual progress. Why is spiritual change so difficult for me?
As I pondered the chart, I was struck with the realization that each category could be represented by a Biblical character or event.
The first is the ideal when change successfully occurs. It could be represented when the Holy Spirit descended upon the first believers on the day of Pentecost.
The second is represented by the disciples of Jesus, unclear about their vision and always confused over their true mission.
The third is represented by Judas, with his goals not in consensus with Jesus and who later betrayed Jesus and attempted to sabotage His mission.
The fourth is presented by Moses, embarrassed and anxious over his perceived lack of skills, including poor speech.
The fifth is represented by Naaman, the Syrian, needing more incentives than just the prophet Elisha’s revelation and thus resistant to God’s command to bathe in the river because he wasn’t convinced it was needed.
The sixth is represented by Nicodemus, frustrated that he did not fully search the resources God had given him to truly understand the Scriptures and understand the meaning of a true rebirth.
And the seventh is represented by me. I have knowledge, resources, and vision, but I have never allowed myself to create an action plan to serve God. For years, I would do all the things that I thought were expected of me. I would read the Bible, pray, attend a Bible believing church, fellowship in a Bible study, participate in Christian activities. All of these were important but I lacked an overarching message. I lacked the action plan that only God could provide. I was busy attending to the trees when I needed to see the forest.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)
God had to chastise me and bring me to my knees before I saw that my life was an aimless series of actions, performed only to satisfy my selfish needs and project an image of a “good” Christian. I was not first seeking God’s kingdom. I was seeking the “all these things” and hoping that it would lead me to God. I was seeking change by hoping to bypass an important step.
Change may be difficult and painful. But when God wants us to change for Him, He provides all the necessary steps to make the change. He provides the vision, the consensus, the skills, the incentives, the resources, and the action plan! And if change does not occur, we should re-examine our lives and hold it up to the light of God’s truth in the Bible. He always provides everything we need to change for Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.