Change has been a top theme of this blog from the very beginning. It is an important topic that affects everyone…more often than we stop to think about. (See below for further links to articles on change.)
Why would a blog about God’s grace, the gritty-ness of our lives and the beauty that comes from the intertwining of those things consider such a mundane theme so frequently?
THE GRACE OF GOD IN THE INCARNATION
Let’s take a look…starting with God’s grace. That takes me back to Jesus…which leads me to the topic of His Incarnation. When you break the big word down, you get God in human flesh. Yes, from one perspective, it is extremely dramatic! God, but in human flesh!
It is also very mundane. God, in human flesh. Just looking at Jesus, there was no way to tell the difference between God and just another human being! God in the mundane. He left the glory of heaven and came to earth, living an ordinary life. His childhood was a normal one. The neighbors knew Jesus as the kid down the street. They didn’t think of him as God. (If their attitudes didn’t change later, it was to their detriment.)
Of course, often the mundane frequently indicates the opposite of change. It brings to mind boredom, moments dragging into hours at the slowest of paces…and the desperate need for change!
FIRST, I NEED TO CHANGE!
When I think about it, there are at least two parts to change. I must realize that change is needed. Sometimes the realization hits me with a jolt. The awareness is there because I’ve been hit “upside the head” with truth! I realize a process needs to start…and NOW!
At others, it is a very gradual realization that takes place over a long period of time. Either way, I must leave the “Land of Denial” and move to the reality that change needs to happen!
BUT HOW? PUTTING THE PLAN INTO PRACTICE !
The other large part of change? Implementing it! It’s relatively easy to know a particular change is needed.
For example, I need to lose 15 pounds. No matter how much I talk about needing to lose the weight, until I change my lifestyle, I will not lose it! I must put into practice what I know, maybe even learn some new skills or I will not lose any weight.
It is that simple. It is also that difficult! As I put my knowledge into practice, change will result and in the example, I will lose the weight. Sometimes it involves a major change in the direction my life is moving.
Saying, “No.” to myself and my comfort is not as easy as it sounds. Saying, “Yes.” to more exercise, different and less food is not always easy either…in the moment. This is where I need God’s grace…yes, even in the mundane! Even when I really don’t want it fully! But that is the place where change will happen…the mundane…the little choices.
OTHER KINDS OF CHANGE
There is another aspect to the topic of change. This is when change happens to me…or so close that it strongly affects me! People near me die…or become severely incapacitated…I or my spouse lose a job…a child rebels, either on a regular basis or a one time dramatic event… a spouse leaves me…either for real or symbolically…either I or friends move away. I think you get the point.
So often when change seems to “happen” to us, it seems that God is nowhere to be found! That is when His person, the God we have come to know earlier in our lives, comes back to us.
AMONG OTHER ATTRIBUTES OF GOD, HIS SOVEREIGNTY!
Remembering that our God is Sovereign is immensely helpful during these times when life seems so random. When things happen, our sovereign God is not looking the other way, or dozing, or preoccupied with other important events! He is aware of all that is happening because it has been part of His plan since the beginning. (cf. Ephesians 1:3-8)
GOD’S GOAL FOR ME…NOT HAPPINESS, HOLINESS!
God’s goal for me is sanctification, that is making me more like Him. It sounds like a great idea until we get into the process. It’s a little like taking broken pot shards and trying to make a beautiful piece of pottery from them. “Impossible!” you say. Exactly! God’s grace is at work in you and me (as believers) working to make us into that beautiful work of art. To think that He has had the plan for my sanctification in mind before creation is rather stunning! My sanctification. Is that not amazing?
AM I TRUSTING GOD? OR THE GOOD THINGS HE GIVES ME?
Often my response to the change God brings into my life that seems to be random, shows me where I am placing my trust. I say I trust God, but often I’m trusting in the areas I have depended on during my life. The places where I have placed my trust are not all bad things, but often the emphasis is wrong. You know the saying, ” The em-pha-sis is on the wrong syl-la-ble.” When that happens, the word comes out wrong. The beautiful pottery is ruined…or so it seems from my side of it.
I have learned, too slowly, that my dependence on looking good, pleasing others, being comfortable, even having good health and being able to think clearly (you will have a different list I’m sure), all are idols that keep me from depending on Christ.
Difficulty, over time, has pushed me to depend on Him in ways I didn’t before. This independent woman wants to live independent of the God who created her. When He allows illness, difficulty and weakness into my life, I am forced to depend on Him. It is not something I love. I don’t like being dependent on others. I want to be competent and independent!
IS GOD’S GRACE ENOUGH FOR ME? HE SAYS IT IS!
Like Paul, I don’t enjoy the thorns in the flesh God sends my way. But through them, I learn that His grace is sufficient. His strength is made perfect in weakness. I will glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (I Corinthians 12:7-10)
Hallelujah! Bring on the change.