Am I Making Excuses or Making Changes?
Can This Be Said of You?
- “Something is different about you.”
- “You sure have changed.”
- “What happened to make you so different?”
- “Why don’t you do what you used to do?”
Change…difference…alterations… Can these things be said about you since your relationship with the Lord began?
Relationships change us. We know this is a fact. When I was single I lived as a single person. When I married my life changed. My relationship with my wife changed my behaviors and activities. Fact is, if married people don’t change when that relationship starts they probably won’t be married for long. Because, relationships are supposed to change us.
So, why is it that so many people claim to have a relationship with God, but feel like they don’t have to experience any changes in their lives? True, for some the changes might be slight, but still there. For others the changes will be drastic and dramatic, real life changes. Sometimes these changes happen incredibly fast, and other times they occur over periods of time, but there is still change visible.
Think about how marriage or even dating relationships change us:
- We stop “seeing,” “hanging out,” dating other people.
- We begin spending significant amounts of time with one person specifically
- We start wanting to make this person happy, pleased, comfortable, content with us.
- We change the places we go and the events we attend (Stop some and start others)
- We alter our language and the way we talk, the things we say
- We change the choices we make in a variety of categories
See, things change. Think for a moment of what you have changed because of a relationship you have/had with a bf/gf/spouse. What changed? What stayed the same? Did any of these lead to conflict?
Our Relationship with God Changes Us
God meets us right where we are, with all of our wounds, baggage, sin. But He doesn’t want us to stay there. He works in our lives and He’s giving us what is needed for change, but we have to be willing. For some changes it means we have to release some things, possibly things that have been very important to us before. For other changes it means taking on some things that we wouldn’t have been willing to do before.
Why make these changes? We change because of the relationship. Relationships change us. Problem is that we don’t like to change. So, with God it becomes easy to make excuses. We find ourselves tolerating things in our lives that we shouldn’t. We excuse out actions and behaviors with a flippant, “That’s just how God made me” when we should be saying, “God, forgive me.” None of us are immune to this, and the culture and community we live it makes it far more acceptable to compromise then to commit and change.
Need some proof?
- The divorce rate in society is only slightly higher than in the Christian community.
- Adultery rates among believers is incredibly high
- The crimes of child molestation and abuse within the church are staggering.
- Reports of Christian men sucked into the lure of pornography are shameful
- Drug and alcohol addiction and abuse among the church mirrors the lost
Now, don’t hear me say that if you are engaged in these behaviors you shouldn’t be in the church. If we are sincere about Christ’s purpose for the church we will recognize it as a hospital for the sin-sick and not simply a display case for the divine. We are here precisely because these issues exist and God wants to change lives. It’s just time that we stop making excuses and justification for our own sinful behaviors and we start bringing them to the cross.
Today is the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER (always the first Thursday of May). My custom is to read the passage of Scripture from 2 Chronicles where Solomon has completed the temple and is dedicating it to the Lord. It was in this reading today that God pricked my heart about this in a very familiar passage.
2 Chronicles 7:14
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
As in that day with Solomon, God had done all that was needed to experience incredible blessings and benefits with this vital relationship with Him. It was all up to the people to respond and to turn from their evil…wicked…selfish and self-serving…ways and return to Him.
The same is true right now. We need to choose to stop making excuses and start moving toward change. When we start to hear comments like I listed at the beginning of this article we will know we’re on the right track. People around us…closest to us…should recognize that something is different about us, that we are changing. They might not understand it, and they might not like it, but they should see it. In addition, these changes should point them all in one direction—the cross.
So, what about the change in your life? Is it there? Do people notice it? Have you chosen instead to make excuses? “This is just who I am.” Jesus gave His life so that you could have a changed life. Claim it…receive it…and live it
In closing check out this video by one of my all-time favorite Christian artists.
Until the next time…
God Bless you in the Change!