Landslide – How to Handle Change in Life
It has been said that the only thing that is constant is change. Change can be a little scary. It shakes up what we know and puts us in the most uncomfortable place of what we don’t know.
I took my love, I took it down Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills ‘Til the landslide brought it down
Oh, mirror in the sky What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been afraid of changin’ ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder Even children get older And I’m getting older, too
When it comes to life change, what is God’s part and what is our part?
Philippians 2:12-13 ESV – Therefore, my beloved, fas you have always gobeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for hit is God who works in you, both to will and to work for ihis good pleasure.
What would you like to change in your life? As I was growing up, I heard people say, “Jesus changed my life.” How does Jesus change your life? Does He do surgery or brain wash you? Zap you with something and all of a sudden you’re changed? There’s a lot of confusing advise coming out now days on how God changes us. Some people say, “Just wait on the Lord.” A passive approach. Other people say, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” An activist viewpoint. What am I supposed to do in order to grow? Is it all me or is it all God or is it a combination? Paul deals with this very issue. When it comes to your spiritual growth, the fact is God has a part and you have a part. Paul uses two phrases to explain this cooperation:
To “work out” means to cultivate or develop. He doesn’t say you earn your salvation. He says you make the most of what you’ve already got. You work “out” what God is working “in”.
“…work out your salvation…” He’s talking about an individual assignment. Accept personal responsibility for your growth. Your salvation, not somebody else’s. Yours. Individually. God does not want cookie-cutter Christians. He doesn’t want a bunch of spiritual clones walking around, everybody copying each other. You are unique and individual. He wants you to be you.
Ready or not Change happens. Change imposes itself on you. It doesn’t even wait on you to be ready. It doesn’t ask for your permission. But change is not a bad word.
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by Change.”
Why People Resist Change
•Fear – Unknown threatens our comfort zone
•Insecurity – Thinking we will be worse off
•Power -We will lose it
•Inertia – Easier to maintain the status quo
•Energy – Takes lots of work to change
The question is, “How will you respond to it? What kind of attitude will you have toward it?”
I. DON’T FOCUS ON WHAT WAS, BUT ON WHAT CAN BE
Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV – “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it. I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland
No one likes change EXCEPT a baby with a wet or dirty diaper. Change can be intimidating and frightening. It can be a “Landslide”. You can change and not grow…but you can’t grow without change!
•Life span for modern technology is less than 6 months
•The American worker will face up to multiple career changes
•Over 500,000 graduates have degrees in a field that becomes non-existent every year
John 5:6 ESV – When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
-Jesus felt it necessary to ask! You Must Want Change!
Changes in life bring changes in you! By Product – Growth & Transformation
We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are!
II. Three Tools God Uses to Change Us
1. God Uses the Bible
2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[a] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Bible changes our thoughts so it changes us. If you want to get serious about change, you need to get into this book. Read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, live it in your life. The more you get the Word of God in your life, the more you’re going to be changed.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV– For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
The Bible is authoritive not just bc it is a manual for living, but bc it reveals to us JESUS who has the power to CUT through all our BOLONEY and change our lives!
“The Scriptures were not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives”
2. God Uses the Holy Spirit
Romans 8:11 ESV – If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
God puts His Spirit in us. This is where the power comes from to change. Romans 8:11: “Once the Spirit lives within you, He will bring to your whole being new strength and vitality.” God will bring power into your life. The Holy Spirit is God Himself. When you commit your life to God, He comes into your life.
II Corinthians 3:18 Living Bible – But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.
The Holy Spirit in you gives you the desire and the power to change. God’s number one purpose in your life is not to make you happy, but to make you like Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:19, 23 NIV) “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire…May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“Every time we say “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter into human personality and change it” JB Phillips
God’s ideal is to tell us how to change through His word and give us the power to change through His Spirit. You read it and then He empowers you to do it. Unfortunately, we don’t always follow the ideal. So God has to use a third way to change us when we don’t respond to the Word or the Holy Spirit.
3. God Uses Circumstances
Problems, pressures, headaches, difficulties, stress always gets our attention.
Romans 8:28-29 NIV – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
There is nothing that could come into the life of a believer without God’s permission. He doesn’t say they are all good, but He will use them for good to fit into a pattern. There is a divine pattern.
Proverbs 20:30 Good News Translation – Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.
We rarely change until we get desperate. We don’t change too often when we see the light, but we always change when we feel the heat. God lights a fire under us and we get moving. Often we will put up with things we know needs to be changed in our lives until we being to be uncomfortable. God sometimes has to bring some thunderstorms into our lives to say, “Do something. I want you to change. Don’t get stuck in a rut.” (A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.)
Learn to see the Purpose in the Pain – God is more interested in your character than your comfort.
Three Ways We Can Cooperate with God and Change
1. I Can Choose What I Think About
Proverbs 4:23 NCV “Be careful what you think because your thoughts run your life.”
Your Thoughts not only shape your life, your thoughts are your life! You will never change your life until you change the way you think.
You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” James Allen
Romans 12:2 NIV – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Change begins in your Mind. Your mind is the drawing room for your tomorrow. What happens in your mind will happen in time.
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
The key to success is meditating on God’s Word. Another word for meditation is “rumination” – what a cow does when it chews it cud. The cow is straining every once of nourishment it can out of that grass
•Meditation is Thought Digestion
Philippians 4:8 NIV – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things
Joshua 1:8 ESV – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success
2. I Can Choose to Depend on The Holy Spirit
John 15:4-5 ESV – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
A branch is totally dependant upon the vine. When it is cut off from that vine, it won’t bear any grapes, or figs, or whatever. A branch cannot produce fruit by itself. It’s got to be connected. Jesus is saying that’s the way we have to be with God. We have to be plugged in. God has the power. But it’s not automatic. It’s when you’re plugged in, tuned in to God that the power comes through you.
Fruit is an inside job
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
3. I Can Choose My Response to Life
Romans 5:3-4 ESV– Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
You cannot control all the circumstances in your life, but you can control how you choose to respond to them. It’s not what happens to us that matters; it’s what happens in us that makes the difference.
James 1:2-4 ESV – Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Don’t ask why, ask What
II Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT – For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
What do you want to change the most about yourself? The power to change comes from God’s power and your choices. When you choose to do the right thing, God gives you the power. What God tells you to do He gives you the power to do. Whatever you want to change it takes cooperation with God. He will work it in if you will work it out. God has promised to give you both the desire, the will power and the ability to make those changes. He will do it through His word and through His spirit. He will energize your life to make those changes. But it starts with our choices