Are You Really Going To Make Changes and Keep Them?
Author: Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS
The theme for most people with regard to Covid-19 is reflection. Many of us have had our world turned upside down. We no longer have the busy schedules we once had. We are no longer running from one event to the next. We have come to realize that maybe – just maybe – we had WAY too much on our schedules and change is needed!
As the days have gone by, sitting inside our homes – with no where to go – we begin to realize it’s okay to let go – and embrace a new season of life.
In your mind you know a change is needed. In your mind you know a change is necessary. In your mind you have made a commitment to God to change.
Let’s be honest. It’s easier to make this change in your mind while still at home social distancing. It’s easy to make this change in your mind when you don’t have people asking you to teach, serve, or help with any events right now.
So – how will YOU make the change – and keep your commitment to change?
1 John 2:16 “For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.”
Look Inside Your Soul
Is it possible that you have kept yourself busy with so many activities because it gives you a sense of purpose? Do you realize that in reality if we allow God to truly guide our lives we wouldn’t have so much to do? We would sit with our thoughts – a lot. God does not fill our calendars. We do. In his excellent book, Reclaiming Surrendered Ground, Jim Logan reminds us that when we give ground to Satan, he becomes the ruler of our lives, and not God.
Satan wants us to have a false sense of feeling special. He wants us to desire feedback from others. He wants us to feel admired by others because it makes us feel good. Don’t get me wrong, affirmation is good – and needed at times, but an obsession over it is obviously not okay.
Be honest. How good do you feel when your calendar is empty? How good do you feel when you aren’t the center of attention or when no one comes to you for advice?
You probably feel bad and thus you make yourself feel better with events and keeping busy. But is this real? Does God want you to fill voids in your life with events?
Satan wants you to believe you’re special by staying busy but this is a lie. Logan talks about the importance of relinquishing ground yielded to Satan. Desiring a false sense of purpose and desiring praise of others is not of God.
Now that you have more time right now, talk with God. Ask Him to help you understand why you desire to stay busy. God will help you search inside your soul. Once you discover the why – you will then be able to release it to God and all the activities in your life which God has not intended for you. A new slower pace in life is what you need.
But…you already know this – and so does God.
Matthew 26:40 “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping, “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”, he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Jesus was in deep agony about His impending death to fulfill the laws. He left His disciples to watch and pray – yet they fell asleep. They did not realize what was about to happen. Jesus is essentially warning them of their laziness and how they might find themselves overcome by temptations. In The Hour that Changes the World, Dick Eastman reminds the reader that the discipline of prayer will change the world.
When we watch (the world around us) and pray we have the power to stand up against temptations.
In order for you to make the changes needed in your life you must embrace the discipline it takes to make the changes. In your mind alone you cannot make these changes. As a Christian alone you cannot stand up to Satan’s attack – which is why you must watch and pray like Jesus told His disciples.
It is great that you’ve come to the realization that a change in your life is necessary – but don’t be fooled. You cannot do it alone!
Pray that God will help you stay disciplined in this new change. Pray for God’s protection.
Why pray for God’s protection?
Because after you have accepted that change is needed and you begin to implement changes– make no mistake – something will in fact come into your life to tempt you to go back to your old way of living. It may not be necessarily scary or dramatic. It can be something as simple as someone asking you for a “small” favor in which you know you shouldn’t do; something new to add to your schedule. The moment you are no longer disciplined – the change you were hoping for is over.
And it doesn’t mean you don’t serve or teach or do any of the activities you enjoy. You simply need to be in prayer and ensure you are in God’s will for your life. If you feel burned out with weekly activities – you are not in God’s will.
Be alert. Be wise. Watch and pray!
Stay disciplined in this new adjustment in your life.
Can You Stay Satisfied?
Deuteronomy 8:10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God.”
In Satisfied, by Jeff Manion, he shares a very scary thought. A godly couple, happily married, rethink their lives and the early days of financial struggle. Through hard work and diligence they are now at a point of being more financially secure than they’ve ever been – YET – they have drifted away from God. Their spiritual lives, once thriving, seeking God in all things, is hanging on by a thread!
Unfortunately, this couple is no different than you and me. When life is hard we fervently seek God. Once we begin to have some level of security, be it money, or so-called purpose, God begins to take a back seat. Doesn’t He?
Your busy life has given you the purpose you’ve always desired and it’s possible you have forgotten God. Can you allow Him to slowly peel away what you no longer need? And can you remain satisfied in Him alone?
Don’t be fooled.
Don’t believe this happens to other people but not you.
We live in a world where we envy what others have. Our flesh is weak. We get involved in activities without prayer and make ourselves believe it’s okay by simply attaching God to it. Can you be satisfied when it’s just you and God when no other activities are filling up your calendar?
I know many states are still on lockdown right now, but many are not. Many are moving into phases of reopening and lives resuming some form of normalcy.
When this happens, don’t forget the work God has done in your life the past seven weeks. Don’t forget the time you’ve spent in prayer to make these changes. Remember, you will be tempted to go back to life as it was. But when you make a commitment to God to change, He takes your commitment to Him seriously – and so should you.
In Judges 12:30 Jephthah made a rash vow to God in which he was heartbroken over. He unknowingly sacrificed his daughter for God’s hand of deliverance in battle. When he realized what he had done, he was devasted because he knew the importance of keeping his vow to God. Now granted, the vow he made was foolish and without thought and prayer first – BUT he was so committed to keeping his vow – even a rash vow – he was torn by what he had foolishly done.
Do you care about the changes God is asking you to make today?
Let’s Recall What We’ve Talked About Here:
- Do a Soul Search
- Stay Disciplined
- Be Satisfied in God alone.
Do you have that same level of commitment as Jephthah in keeping your commitments to God?
These changes are only for your best – so seek God every day. Ask Him to help you stay focused on Him. These new changes are for your good.
Be satisfied in the Lord. Make changes today. You can do it! If it’s God’s will He will give you the strength because you can do all things through Christ who gives you the strength to do it. Allow your new normal to bless your life – and others.
~Saleama A. Ruvalcaba, MATS