Change is constant, necessary in our lives

Published 8:47 am Friday, March 9, 2018

By Pastor Brandon Young
Malachi 3:6 says, “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” And Hebrews 13:8 states, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” From the two verses of scripture, we can know God does not change nor will he ever. God never changes because he is perfect, but he is a God that changes everything, and believes in the process of change. Everything in life changes, but God. We must change because we should be striving to get better. Let’s evaluate our lives for a moment, identify what needs changing, and let’s prepare to make a change, acting upon our plan.
When it comes to the subject of changing our lives, we all feel the same as we feel about going to heaven: We’re all for it, but we’d rather not go through what you have to go through to get there! Everybody wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. The idea of change sounds good in theory, but when it gets right down to it, we think, “You mean I actually have to live differently? No way!” Change can be difficult, and oftentimes we choose to remain the same. We are a work in progress, and God has us on a potter’s wheel, shaping and molding us into what he wants us to be. We sang a song in our youth choir as a child entitled, “He’s Still Working on Me.” And today at 38 years old, the Lord is still working on me to make me what he wants me to be!
With a master’s degree in counseling, I have studied endlessly on the process and stages of change. I have been able to use this knowledge in my life, and I feel that you will be able to do the same. There are five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. Let’s take a closer look at these stages.
People in this stage of change are not thinking seriously about changing, and tend to defend their current life. Honestly, these individuals do not see the need for change, and many times they think other individuals in their lives are the one needing the change. Individuals in this stage of change will never change. It is impossible to change when you do not see a need to do so. As I have heard all my life, you cannot be saved until you realize that you are lost.
People in this stage of change are able to consider the possibility of change, but feel ambivalent about taking the next step. They are starting to see the need for change, but do not know where to begin. Fortunately, when folks make it to this stage they are beginning to see things in their own life that needs changing, and this is a huge first step in the process of change.
People in this stage of change have usually made a recent attempt to change their behavior. They believe that change is necessary and that the time for change is imminent. They must prepare a plan for change. Many Christians feel that it is God’s responsibility to change them, but in fact, he provides the means, materials, and the methods, but we must do the rest. God will not force change on any of us because he gives us a choice. We must take the necessary steps for change!
People in this stage of change are actively involved in taking steps to change their behavior, and making great steps towards significant change. They are carrying out the plan that was created. They seek to better their lives, and the lives of those around them by making the change. This action phase can last for weeks, months, or even years depending on the amount of change that is needed.
People in this stage of change have fully implemented the change, and must be able to successfully avoid any temptations that may lead to the former behavior. They have learned to anticipate and handle temptations to use and are able to employ new ways of coping. They may have a temporary slip or relapse, but choose not to see this as a failure, but instead a new learning experience. For a change to stick, it must be maintained and cared for until it is routine and engrained into our person.
I pray while you have read this column that you have identified what needs to changed in your life. If so, please devise a plan on how to make this change. This may be an uncomfortable process, but in the end you can become that better spouse, parent, friend, and coworker. God wants us constantly making improvements in our life, and we must reflect continually on what is working and not working in our lives. If we continue doing what we have always done, we will continue to get what we have always gotten! Let’s start changing for the better!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Elizabethton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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