But I Don’t Want to Change!

Most of us have heard of claustrophobia and arachnophobia. We may not have heard of “uncomfyphobia,” probably because I made that word up. It means, “the fear of leaving our comfort zone.” The word may be fake, but the concept is real. We cling to our comfort zone. We fear and resist change.

However, change is not only an inevitable part of life, it’s an essential component of spiritual development. Spiritually, if we’re not changing, we’re not growing.

God’s ultimate plan is to make us more and more like Jesus: “God…decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son…We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him” (Romans 8:29).

While change can come from the revelation of the word or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, it most often results from pressure and challenges in our lives, and that can be scary. Just when we get comfy and settled, our easy lives get disturbed. We get sick. We get laid off. We lose our temper. We see or experience something in our lives that pushes us to make a change. And with change comes the temptation to worry and be afraid.

But when we choose to trust God during those disturbing times, we find ourselves becoming more like Christ.

The end result of spiritual change is so very awesome. Over the course of our lives, as we look back to where we started our journey and see where God brought us, we can’t help but feel awe. God-given transformation is truly awesome.

We may never pray to be laid off, to be ill, or to be faced with a giant problem. But those times of disturbance, stirring, and change often turn out to be blessings that serve to develop us into the image of our Savior—if we continue to place our trust in the lavish love of God.

You know, He could let us be complacent, stagnant, and lazy. But he loves us too much for that. He loves us so much that, if we allow him, he will make us like Jesus. And friend, nothing is better than that.

Dear God, I am awestruck by your intention to make me like Jesus. In the words of Sir Francis Drake: “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore. Protect me from complacency and the desire to grasp too tightly to my own comfort. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Handling Life's Problems

Before, During, and After

“The end of a thing is better than its beginning…” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)

So many seasons of life can be divided into “before,” “during,” and “after.” We can point out the time before we lost the job, the uncertain time during the job hunting, and the time after starting the new job. A mountain climber has the before time of preparation, the during when they need every ounce of their skill and strength for the climb, and the after, when they stand top of the mountain and enjoy the breathtaking, panoramic view.

The before is comfortable. It’s familiar. It’s easy. The during can be challenging, confusing, scary, and painful. But, ahh—the after! That’s the exciting part when we see how the before and during led us to the place we needed to be.

Jesus’s life on earth had a before, during, and after. The before was amazing. His three years of ministry were filled with miracles, healings, victories over demons, and throngs of followers. On what we now call Palm Sunday, he entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey, to the acclaim of the crowds, who called out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).

Less than a week later, the during began. Jesus was betrayed by one of those closest to him. The adoring crowds disappeared. He was arrested, beaten, tormented, and mocked. He was falsely accused and unlawfully sentenced to die. Jesus was actually forced to carry the cross upon which he was murdered.

The during was frightening and painful, torturous beyond imagination. But the during wasn’t the end of the story.

We know what happened after the crucifixion. The power of God was manifested by raising Jesus from the dead. Our salvation was procured. The bondage of sin and death was broken.

Hebrews 12:2 says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, our leader and instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God.” We are to emulate Jesus, to keep watching what he did and do the same. He endured the cross because he knew the joy that would come after.

We’ve probably heard people say, “It didn’t come to stay, it came to pass.” The during doesn’t come to stay. It will pass. The struggle is for a season. During that season, we learn, we grow stronger, and we gain a testimony to share with the world about the faithfulness and goodness of God. The end is better than the beginning. If it isn’t better, it isn’t over.

Dear God, I know you’re the God of every season of my life, the good times as well as the bad times. When I’m walking through a challenging time, give me faith to follow your plan and peace during the struggle. You’ve promised to never leave me alone. Whether I’m in an enduring season or enjoying the ease of the “after,” let me always be aware of your presence, your protection, and your peace. In Jesus’s name, amen.