Everyone wants change once in a while. Need a change of scenery? Move. Tired of the drab color in the living room? Paint. Don’t like your old car? Get another. Change can be good or bad, depending on what it is. When we think of change, we most often think of the material world in which we are enveloped.
We get tired of what we have and we change things to make us feel better—at least until we want to change things again. What about our personal relationships with Christ? Have you ever thought about moving it deeper and further? Is your relationship with Christ stuck in neutral?
Is it going backward? Only you can answer that question.
What if your relationship with Jesus is stagnant? How do you move it forward? What if it is sliding backward? How do you get it back on track? There are lots of answers to this and they can be found in the Bible.
The bigger questions are surrounding the word “why.” Why are you where you are? Are you content with your relationship with Jesus? What is stopping you from moving forward with Him? These are just sample of questions to ask, but you may be in a place of stagnation. Or are seeing yourself back a few steps further from where you were yesterday or last week? You want change? You can have it.
We must continually examine ourselves. In 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are told to examine ourselves and prove ourselves. We need to examine not only our hearts but also our relationships with Christ. If we don’t exam ourselves frequently, we can lose our way or be taken off track from our faith. We are to grow in Christ, not decrease. We are to increase, not decrease. Through careful examination, God will show us where we are and where we need to grow or improve to increase in Christ.
In 2 Peter 3:18 we are admonished to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus. This, my friends, is more than thinking about Jesus once a week on Sunday. It means more than just raising your hands to worship or asking God to fix whatever problems you got yourself into that week. What it means is to learn. Learn about Jesus. Learn His ways. Study His ways and His teachings.
Our relationship with Christ is not like passive osmosis. It is active. It is precise. We must learn to study the Word, let the Holy Spirit guide us, and pray more and more. When we begin to learn more about Christ, and as that personal relationship with Him starts to increase, we discover that, yes—we can trust Him. We can trust our lives to God. He is the Alpha and Omega and when we begin to realize this, our awe for Him will grow and our adornment for Him will fill us with greater hope and increased faith.
Breaking away from the old self to the reborn self is easy for some and very difficult for others. After coming to Christ some people look forward with no need to look back. Others who have come to Christ have a hard time letting go, and look back to their past with romantic ideas of the “good ol’ days.”
In the material world, we are surrounded by a society that tempts us daily. This can cause a barrier to a full relationship with Christ. I’m a victim of it just as much as the next person. We all fail and fall, there is no doubt about this. If you think otherwise, examine yourself (2 Cor. 13:5).
When we examine ourselves, we can see where our strengths and weaknesses are with the Lord. This examination gives us the opportunity to change our lives for the better by working on those areas in which we are weak, and grow in the areas where we are strong. This is totally doable.
It is easy to become disheartened when we work on changing weak areas into strong areas. We all have our own weaknesses in spirit and body. We are inherently sinful creatures and change may not come easy to those things in our lives that burden our hearts. It isn’t that we want to do what we don’t want to do, but we do anyway (Rom. 7:15-20). Even though we fall short, it doesn’t mean we ought to give up; we must fight.
We must fight to change. To really change, we must constantly be in battle with ourselves in those areas in need of change. And you know what? Satan will tempt us with our weaknesses and try to knock down our strengths. He will use those things in the world where we are weak to entice us through media, substance abuse, society, and much more.
When Jesus was in the desert getting tested for 40 days, He was tempted with the same core temptations we face today. He overcame them. He passed the tests Satan threw at Him. We can learn from what Jesus overcame that through strength in the God, we can overcome as well.
Through mercy and grace, we are forgiven shortfalls are forgiven. Through Christ, we have favor with God. Through the Holy Spirit we have the guidance to do what we need to in order to achieve change; the changes we need to grow closer to our Lord and Savior. Change your desire to action and let your actions be bold.
In being bold, I mean you may have to give up things and people to make the necessary changes. I’m in the process of doing that in areas of my life that need change. I won’t bore you with the details, but I have found giving things up can be hard in our society.
We are already marginalized for being followers of Jesus by our society. When we give things up for a relationship with Christ, we can be pressured not to. Peer pressure can be a strong influence to hamper our changes but they, too, can be overcome.
This can be said for anything with which you have issues. I have found the best thing to do is to avoid situations where temptation lies in wait for you. We know our weaknesses and what draws us to them, so avoidance is the best remedy.
In conclusion, we all need change in our relationships with Jesus. We need to move forward with them, avoid and stop those things that are hindering us from having that full relationship with Him. Don’t stand still in your walk with Christ, but move forward—always forward.