Trusting God with Change
“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6
Change is a part of our life process. God never changes because He is already perfect in all of His ways. But for us change is a constant in our life. Ill. You can try to be like the Amish people who resist the changes of a modern world – and try to live like it is still the 1800’s. Pic:
You may need to change your mind about change!
“To everything there is a time, a season, and everything is beautiful in it’s time.” Eccl. 3:1, 11
With the season change we change – we don’t wear winter clothes in summer.
- When our children grow up – our relationships with them change.
Someone said, “I never thought my child would grow up and break my heart like they did!” People may change in ways that are difficult for us, but even then trusting God, that He knows it all, including the future and the outcome, is the way to remain in CPR.
- God could reveal everything that is going to happen in our future and let us know the changes we will need to make – but most of the time He doesn’t – because He expects us to trust Him.
When unexpected change happens to us it leaves us with many unanswered questions that only God can answer. What if God decides it is time for a change?
- It happened to Elijah the prophet. He lived in a time of severe drought. God led him to live beside a brook and was miraculously providing for him. The ravens brought him food each day and he had running water from the brook. All his needs were met.
- One day the brook dried up. This was an agent of change from God for Elijah.
If your brook dries up – it could be God has a change for your life.
You lose your job because of cutbacks – change is thrust upon you.
God spoke to Elijah through this and told him to go to a city and a young widow lady with a child would provide for him!
Why would God allow this considering the rumors that would fly?
- Single preacher to young widow for her to provide for him?
Ill. Imagine the neighbors talking- did you hear about the preacher and shacking up with the young widow and they said God told them?
Apparently God is not concerned about appearances, even though He tell us to avoid all the appearances of evil, He sometimes does some weird looking things; Mary pregnant with Jesus before she is married!
Some changes will require trusting God more than being concerned about what others will think about you.
This change in Elijah’s life wasn’t about benefiting him, it was about benefiting the widow. Sometimes God changes something in our life, in order to benefit someone else. We become an agent of change in another persons’ life. It is an assignment.
I have wasted a lot of time thinking if my circumstances or people around me would change then my life would be happier. I would pray for God to change them, but then I discovered God wanted to change me!
Satan wants us to focus what’s wrong with our circumstances, or what’s wrong in others, because that way, we never see what’s wrong with ourselves!
Are you willing to change?
Ill. How many times have I tried to change myself but fall right back into old habits? So after a time of discouragement I try harder, only to learn that I cannot change merely by trying, I need God’s help.
This may sound simple, but it is one of the most difficult things to learn. Any effort of change must be made while leaning on God.
Ill. Jacob wanted God’s blessing on his life more than anything. He did everything he could do to get it – even lie and cheat! At one point, God Himself wrestled with Jacob all night (Gen. 32). At the end of that wrestling match God dislocated Jacob’s thigh but strangely told him that he won the match and God left him disabled- for a reason.
It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. Now for the rest of his life he had to lean upon a staff, as if he had to lean on God to be able to get anywhere in life.
- At the end his long life he was written in Hebrews chapter 11 with God’s greatest faith heroes like Noah, Abraham and Sarah.
“By faith Jacob blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshipped (surrendered) leaning upon the top of his staff.” Heb. 11:21
- Hymn Learning to lean.
Each one of us will go through a similar journey with God.
Ill. The Apostle Paul wrote about his journey in Romans 7. Here he clearly is struggling to do the right thing but failing miserably. He writes,
“O unhappy, miserable man that I am! I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I am at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? I want to serve God in my heart and mind but I am pulled by the influence of sin to another direction.” Romans 7:24-25
Chapter 8 he has found the answer. He moved from trying hard to change to trusting God for change.
What’s our part?
Ill. Like taking medicine. You take in God’s Word, meditate upon it but then trust it to work invisibly to you but in you. James 1:21 the Word in your heart has power to save your souls.
Trusting God’s Word = Trusting God
Ill. My granddaughter just got a little kitten. The very next day the kitten was missing. We looked all over the house. We concluded the kitten had gotten out and was wandering around outside – in the neighborhood. We began thinking the worse – maybe a hawk got it. We looked all over the neighborhood to no avail. Late that evening Pam heard a me-ow from the kitchen. He had been hiding – inside our house. What’s the point?
What you may be looking for to change your life – may be already in your house – in your life.
Some truths about how God changes people:
1. Only God can change people, because it is an inside job.
2. People won’t change unless they want to.
3. The first step to change people is to pray for them.
Caution: pray for others with humility and mercy not judgment!
Sometimes we want people to change for our benefit, but fail to see how selfish that is. We think people should be like us, do things like we do. The truth is there may be more wrong with us than the people we are judging as being “not right”.
A prayer: “Heavenly Father, I am asking You to change ------------ if they need to change. If they don’t, then change my heart towards them to be like Yours. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
When we realize the mercy God gives us each day, it make us much more generous in giving it to others.
Ill. Story of a king who had a large orchard with a full time gardener. Each day the gardener would pick ripe from the various fruit trees and vines and bring them personally to the king to eat. One day the gardener brought ripe cherries to the king. But the king was in a bad mood and when he bit into a sour cherry he took out his anger and threw it, hitting the gardener in the forehead with it.
The gardener responded by whispering, “God is merciful”. The king did it again and heard the gardener say the same thing. Now curious the king enquired, “You must be angry that I am hitting you in the head with these cherries but you keep saying, “God is merciful” – why?
“Your majesty, I was going to bring pineapples to you today but I changed my mind. If you had thrown a pineapple at me I would have been badly hurt. God was merciful at changing my mind.
The gardener trusted God in all things. Things could always be worse, but for the mercy of God!
God does not force people to change and neither should we.
Ill. There are some amazing testimonies in this room of women with unsaved husbands winning their husbands to the Lord, not by trying to change them, but by living their lives trusting God ( I Peter 3:1).
God is better at convincing someone to change better than any of us.
Make a commitment to pray for someone rather than trying to change them.
When the people in your life have behavior that is hurting themselves, it also hurts you. Sometimes people don’t change until God deals with them severely! Sadly, sometimes people still don’t change.
Commit everything into the hands of God like:
Worrying about your children
How will they turn out? Were we good parents?
Ill. Our children are grown. At my age it is easy for me to look at them and quickly locate the root of their problems and tell them.
Don’t give advice where it is not asked for!
We want to help our children. We want to deliver them and stop their pain. Sometimes true love lets someone suffer the consequences of the seeds they have sown. Sometimes you should deliver them.
I urge you to quit worrying, trust God to do in them what you cannot do. Don’t put a time limit on trust. Commit them to God. Quit thinking about them all the time, go on and live your life.
Worry about finances
We all need money to live on earth. God knows but we must handle money His way. Giving away money to the church is one of the hardest things believers will ever do, especially if you have more bills than you can pay!
- God instructs us to bring His tithe and our offerings. He hasn’t changed His mind about this – it teaches us faith and trusting Him.
“Honor the Lord from your substance and the first-fruits
of all your increase . . .” Proverbs 3:9
This is one way we honor the Lord – put His desires first before ours! (Context is Prov. 3:5 Trust in Lord w all your heart and lean not . . .)
In NT it is even greater trust.
“If you give little, you receive little. If you give generously, you get generous help from God. Giving grows out of the heart of trusting God. Otherwise you give because you felt you had to, or because you couldn’t say no. This isn’t the way God wants it. He loves a cheerful giver. He is able to provide you with the grace so that you will always have enough and be able to be generous where He wants you to give. Trust Him! ” Paraphrased 2 Cor. 9:6-8
If you already deep in debt there may not be any quick fixes. But if you will put God first in your finances and ask Him to help you stop spending where you shouldn’t and help you manage what you have left, over time you will get out of debt – His way and with His help.
Commit everything to God – worry: children, finances, and
Worry about our health
You cannot live under continual stress and remain healthy. But you can’t always move away form it all either. What we must do is manage pressure and responsibilities God’s way. This could be a whole sermon series; bottom line is a life committed to God’s agenda surrendering everything and every outcome to Him as an act of worship. “Into Your hands I commit my spirit – my everything.”
This is a commitment without an expiration date!
Prayer: Father, I commit myself anew into Your hands. If I get hurt, I trust You to comfort me. If I get sick, I trust You to heal me. If I have a need I trust You to meet it. If I don’t know what to do, I trust You to show me. I am Yours and You are mine and I trust You, In Jesus’ name, amen.