Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Psalms 119:57 – 64 (NIV) You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands. Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law. At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws. I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts. The earth is filled with your love, O LORD; teach me your decrees.
Change is hard. We resist it. We like our comfort zones. They feel secure and safe. They help to eliminate stress. However, they also stifle creativity and the experience of vitality.
As I analyze my own heart, which is probably not much different from yours, I discover that resistance to change is intricately connected to pride. Admitting that my way may need to be surrendered to your way causes me to question my value. That’s foolishness, I know, but that’s how we think. Pride convinces us that we need our way or we will lose our way. Somehow, we have become slaves to the sinful deception of pride that tells us our worth is connected to our decisions and our performance. So, we miss out on opportunities for growth and vitality because we associate change with some admission of wrong on our part.
The Psalmist speaks of change in today’s passage of Scripture from the 119th Psalm. He reveals to us that there are two ways to consider changing anything in our lives. The first way is wrong; the second way is correct.
The first way is implied in his description of the second way. When he says, I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes, he is giving us the right way to consider changing. Notice the steps he takes:
- He determines his goal – I have sought your face with all my heart.
- He humbly and honestly compares his current condition with his goal – I have considered my ways.
- He makes the decision to change – I have turned my steps to your statutes.
It’s obvious from this passage that he had an open mind to change. He has dealt with his pride. He will not allow his personal feelings, preferences, or past experiences to stifle change. He knows that within the context of change there must be a humble willingness to consider all of his ways flawed and admit that they are wrong. It doesn’t scare him because he knows that God lifts up the humble. His open mind and humble heart allow him to set aside pride in his own way and look clearly at the face of God and choose His ways as his goal. The choice of goal is always preliminary to the choice to the choice to change. He chose God as his goal.
The wrong way to consider change is to choose self as the goal. I guarantee you that when you do, you will not change. If we decide to use our ways as the standard of measure and compare God’s ways to ours, our ways will always win. That’s because we have already determined that our goal is self-preservation, self-fulfillment, self-enhancement, or any other self-centered outcome. Within those parameters we will not change.
But if, as the Psalmist did, we consider our ways as flawed, and compare them to God’s ways, we will be open to change. Change will not and cannot occur if we have already decided that our way is best or that our value is somehow connected to our way being done. The Psalmist clearly says that he has decided to seek God’s way, and that means every one of his own ways needs to be reconsidered. And when he does that, he changes.
We are all guilty of considering God’s ways in light of our comfort zones. That’s why we resist change. But when we consider our ways in the light of God’s face, we change. The Apostle Paul said it this way – whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away…and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory. The veil of pride needs to be taken away by the Spirit of God so we can see the face of God. When that happens, we will be changed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.
Don’t let change scare you, especially when change results in our lives becoming better mirrors of God’s glory. Get out of your comfort zone. Conquer your pride. God wants to change you, and that kind of change is always good.