Ready For a Change by Rev. Shine P. Thomas
One Thing that’s Constant in Life is Change.
So Are You Ready For a Change?
Change is one of the most difficult things that we face in life. One reason we do not like change is because we get comfortable where we are. We get used to our friends, job, the place we live in and even if it is not perfect we accept it because it is familiar. What happens because we are not willing to change is we get stuck in the past, instead of moving forward into what God is about to do.
I want to tell you, “God is preparing you for a greater destiny. He is bringing a new season of refreshing.” My question is: Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to break that cycle of day-to-day life and receive the change?
I am talking to somebody who’s tired of going around and around the same old problem. You have had enough in your life; enough of lack, enough of fear, disappointment, discouragement, and shame. Somebody here needs a turnaround and God is going to do it today. Amen!
Five Hindrances to Change
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
It says, “I don’t want to change.”
The pride does things his own way. Humility does things God’s way. Pride says, “I don’t need to change.” Pride says there is nothing wrong with me. You are the one to change not me. As long as there is pride in your life you will not change.
Too proud to change will lead your life into a fall.
Fear says, “I am afraid to change. I am afraid to take risk. I will live in the average rather than stepping into something new. Fear can make you afraid to change or take risk based on what happened in the past. Jonah was afraid to step into the call of God. He instead took the ship the opposite direction. It led to confusion.
To fearful to change leads to confusion.
Don’t settle for the least, God has the best for you but you need to be bold for a change.
Step out of fear, step on to the love of God.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is made perfect in love.
The Pride says, “I don’t want to change.”
Fear says, “I am afraid to change.”
Rebellion says, “I don’t need to change.”
This is like a little kid. If you are rebellious you lose. King Saul is a perfect example.
Too rebellious to change leads to destruction.
In 1 Samuel 15, the Lord spoke to Saul through Samuel to attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
The next day when Samuel reached Saul he said, “I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” But Samuel said I can hear the bleating of the sheep. Saul said, “The soldiers took the sheep for sacrifice in the temple.”
1 Samuel 15:22-23
22But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
Saul lost his position, he lost his kingdom, he lost his anointing, he also lost his life in the process.
Laziness says, “I don’t feel like changing.” It is too hard for me to change. I don’t want to work to change.
Too lazy to change will lead you to poverty.
9How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— 11and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
I don’t know how to change. I never thought about changing. If someone told me I could come out of my situation. I want to address such people today.
Ignorance towards change will lead you nowhere.
You see change is inevitable. Whomever God called and used God brought seasons for change and refreshing.
There was a time when Israelites set toward the wilderness along the route to the Red Sea. The Lord Said:
2Then the Lord said to me, 3“You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.
God wants to bring about a change in your life today. you have been going around the same routine for long. It is time to turn to the direction of God. Are you ready for a change?
1Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. See, there has been on change in his condition for 38 long years.
Jesus is at Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the Jews. Once inside Jesus comes to the pool of Bethesda. Lying around the pool are the poor, sick, blind, lame, and paralyzed people. Everyone has a deformity. Everyone needs a change.
It is said that on occasions an angel of the Lord stirred the water and whoever gets in the pool first would be healed. Everyone lying there is waiting for their turn. There was a man who was waiting for 38 years. He was paralyzed, waiting for his turn. Probably he was thinking in his heart that someone is always overtaking me, when will my turn come?
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. That sounds like an absurd question. Of course this man wanted to get well! You wouldn’t ask a starving man, “Do you want food?”
Actually, it was a very valid question, for there are people who, if given an opportunity for healing, might actually choose to remain sick. Right now he is free of responsibilities. He can just be in his place – food, money, and clothes are provided to him.
So when Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” He seems to be saying, “You have friends who bring you here, & you’ve developed friendships with others who come here regularly. If I heal you, your life will do a complete reversal. You’ll be expected to get a job & relate to people on a different basis. Are you ready for that change? Do you really want to get well?”
1. Be Ready for a change
God is asking, “Are you ready for a change? Are you willing to make that adjustment if I bring about a change in you?” Some of you today are standing on the edge of your miracle. Your miracle depends on your resolve for a change.
The only one who could keep him out was himself. One who can keep you from your blessing is you. The only one who can keep your prophecy from coming to pass is you.
There was a local belief that the waters of Bethesda had healing powers. Some Bibles read that “An angel of the Lord came down & stirred up the waters.” Many scholars believe the stirring of the water was from an underground spring that would occasionally experience extreme pressure. Whatever caused the disturbance, the people believed that when the waters of Bethesda bubbled up, the first one in the water would be cured.
When Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
2. Stop passing the buck
Quit blaming others if you want a change. Here he was complaining, “Every time the water bubbles up, no one is here to help me into the pool. It’s always the stronger ones who reach the water first. There is no one to help me. It’s been that way for 38 years.” It’s so easy to blame other people for our problems.
When God asked Adam why he disobeyed, Adam explained, “The woman you gave me persuaded me to eat.”
When Moses asked Aaron why he permitted the Israelites to worship a golden calf? Aaron said, “Moses, you were gone so long. They wanted gods like the Canaanites. I just threw their jewellery into the fire & out came the calf.” He blamed the people, blamed Moses for taking so long, blamed the Canaanites, and blamed the fire even! He never took responsibility.
People do the same thing today. How often do we hear people say things like, “I’d stop drinking if my wife would quit nagging me!” “I’d work harder, but no one appreciates my effort.” “I’d make better grades, but my teacher doesn’t like me.”
We blame heredity, environment, circumstances – everything except ourselves. Yet what the Lord wants is for us to accept responsibility for our own behaviour.
King William of Pottsdam once visited a prison in England. Every prisoner brought before him claimed to be innocent, & pleaded for a pardon except for one man who admitted his guilt. King William said to the warden, “Get this guilty man out of the prison before he corrupts all these innocent men!” And the man was set free.
Heredity & environment play a part in influencing us, but we can rise above that if we want to. Some of the world’s best people had terrible pasts. Some of the most privileged people wind up being complete failures. Take responsibility for your condition.
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” It is an act of faith.
3. Stretch beyond yourself
God always required a dedicated effort on the part of a person before he could do something.
Abraham had to leave his country. Moses had to go back to Egypt. Jesus said to the 10 lepers, “Go show yourself to the priests,” & as they went they were healed.”
This man had a choice. He could start walking or just lie down in the same condition. There were many reasons for him not to walk. The past was telling, “You will never walk.” The circumstances are telling him, “It is a Sabbath day. Lifting the mat is against the law.
Remember if you want change you need to stretch beyond your past.
One of the greatest hindrances to your breakthrough is your memory. Some of you have not received the breakthrough in life because you are processing everything through the lens of past disappointments, past hurts, past wounds. But God is saying: the only way to get the new is to let go of the old. Today we have a choice to act against our past and our circumstances and trust God for the future. He is willing to bring a change in your situation.
One of the worst-case scenarios in the Bible is in the book of Ezekiel chapter 37, the Valley of dry bones. It looked hopeless, impossible, beyond the point of no return. But when the prophet started prophesying to those bones something started happening, things started changing. Bones started coming together, and they didn’t just come together but every bone found its matching bone. When the prophet finished prophesying, in the very same place where there was nothing but dry bones there stood a mighty army fully equipped and fully empowered to fight.
It doesn’t matter whatever has happened to you. You have to let it go and move forward. Stretch forward in faith. Stretch your faith and speak to your circumstances.
Look at this man. For 38 years he had not moved. He listened to the voice of God, stretched his faith and his condition changed.
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. For 38 long years the mat carried him, now he is carrying the mat. Child of God whatever circumstances you face in life, if you act in faith you can overcome them by God.
But notice, in order for this man to be healed, he had to stretch beyond himself. If we want to get well, there must be effort. Do you want a change in your situation? Are you willing to stretch your faith?
Stretching your faith
a. Stretch beyond your abilities
Sometimes it is God asking you to do something. You need to act in faith. It means that you may need to start something by faith. It may be that you need to give more time for prayer and devotions.
b. Stop doing what you are doing
Sometimes stretching is to beat a habit, stop the wrong relationships in your life. Stretching is making effort by faith. It means that you need to be willing to give up on some friends. It may mean saying “No” to pleasure or terminating a tempting relationship.
c. Stay calm
Sometimes you may face all opposition around you. In such a case stretch in faith is to stay calm.
Be still and know that I am God.
If we really want to get well, we must make the effort.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, & so the Jews said to the man who had been healed, `It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.’ But he replied, `The man who made me well said to me, `Pick up your mat & walk.’
“So they asked him, `Who is this man who told you to pick it up & walk?’ The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.”
But Jesus came back to reveal himself to this man.
Later Jesus found him at the temple & said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” Notice he was well “again.” There had been a time when he could walk.
4. Stop sinning
Sin is rebellion. I wonder if there had been some disobedience in his younger years that had caused his lameness. Whatever the cause, Jesus warned him that there was something worse than being physically impaired, & that was spending eternity apart from God. God is willing to change any setback, any failure of your younger days today, but we need to stop sinning.
The man went away & told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
When healing of some sort takes place in our lives, we ought to give God the glory.
5. Give God the glory
Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel who alone does marvelous deeds.
When God gives the promotion, change, we’re inclined to forget God’s blessings & take credit ourselves. We say things like, “I worked hard,” “I invested well,” “I take care of my body; I eat right & exercise,” & on & on we go. We are so quick to take credit for what God is doing in our lives. Give all glory to God.
There is changing power in the touch of Jesus
Do you see how wonderful Jesus was to this man? Jesus changed his condition of 38 years. There is changing power in the touch of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is an agent of change and He is reaching out to you. Do you want a change?
I don’t know who I’m talking to but somebody needs a turnaround, you need it, and God can to do it today. Let’s Pray!