What’s the common theme in the following Bible passages?
2 Chronicles 6:37-39 (NIV) And if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, “We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly”; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.
Jeremiah 7:5-7 (NIV) If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.
Matthew 18:3 (NIV) And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
James 4:9 (NIV) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
The key word in each of these verses is “change.”
The Greek word translated as “change” in James 4:9 means “to cause a change of state, with emphasis upon the difference in the resulting state — to change to, to turn into, to cause to be different from, to transform. (μεταστρέφω)” – (Louw and Nida Greek-English Lexicon)
Change is something that is stimulated. It is “caused.” It requires a catalyst. Change is prompted, initiated, stirred and spurred by someone or something. Change doesn’t happen without a recognition and awareness of need and concern. By nature, people gravitate toward and settle into the status quo. It’s been said that people do not change until they either see the light or feel the heat.
Change is also a result. It’s a new state of being. Change is a transformed condition, a new kind of existence. Change isn’t change until something actually changes. Change is evident, observable, identifiable, and in some instances, measurable.
God-desired and wisdom-inspired change is important. There are times when we need to change. There are many situations when and where change is prudent and essential for progress, growth and increased productivity. Resisting or refusing God-desired, wisdom-inspired change results in us remaining on roads that lead to dead ends or to undesired, undesirable, and perhaps even destructive destinations.
Think about all the things that are missed and messed up because people resist or refuse change. Think of all the failures that would become successes, fruitless or limited efforts that would blossom and produce new results if we only changed our thinking, actions, attitudes and approaches.
Where do you need to change? God-desired, wisdom-inspired change isn’t an enemy to fear, it’s a friend to embrace!