For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us (Acts 6:14).
Vacationing in Myrtle Beach, I was catching some rays at the pool when a couple strolled by. His ebony skin struck a vivid contrast against her blonde hair and freckled sunburn. Years ago interracial relationships were shunned by many and yet, today they’re common. I thought about the opposition that similar couples must have taken a few decades back to pave the way for the freedom others now have. This couple at the pool probably had no idea what others previously endured to be together in a society that dictated a different normalcy. What is now normal was not always so.
Who defines normal anyway?
Thirty years ago, couples that went against the cultural mindset were change breakers. They weren’t afraid to make a u-turn or go out on a stormy day without an umbrella. In an approval hungry society, they didn’t lay their foundation on other’s opinions. They decided to take a chance to make a change.
Later the same day, my family and I headed down to Broadway at the Beach, the local day-tripper trap. John had just given Garrett a hundred-dollar bill for spending money and it started a fire in his wallet. When he saw a four-dollar hackie sack he wanted, he flashed the cash.
John saw the hesitation on the cashier’s face that didn’t look too happy about breaking a large bill for a small purchase. “Put away your money, Garrett,” John insisted as he reached in his pocket.
Change is easier to make when the bill is smaller.
Change in custom is the same way. Often we’re afraid to break tradition for a small change. It’s not worth busting up our beliefs. We posture our opinions with fragile theories like, “I like things status quo,” “I don’t want to rock the boat,” or “things are fine the way they are.”
We have to trash the accepted wisdom of our day if our opinions are based on culturally inspired notions. If wisdom is not founded on the gospel, it’s a false foundation.
Too often we build walls of resistance to protect our beliefs. We’re creatures of comfort in a regime of resistance. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t allow others to dictate our beliefs to the point that we can’t embrace change.
Traditions of men are rigid castles of comfort that dictate a culture. When difference invades the palace of conformity, we often draw the mote without investigating the legitimacy of the foreigner. The Pharisees built white-washed tombs; their pride was in their heritage of rules and conformity.
Change comes from the Hebrew word, allasso, which means to exchange one thing for another, to transform. Jesus challenged the thinking of His culture. He confronted the teachers of the law who dictated the doctrine of their day and imposed their legalistic views on the people. In Matthew 23:13, He says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”
As a creature of habit, I don’t like change. When the Lord began dealing with my husband about a huge change—selling our house—I was quick to tell John that God hadn’t said nuthin to me. I soon found out when God speaks and there’s no response, He keeps talking until someone listens. The unction to list our house would not leave John alone…hence, the sign in our yard.
I know that God is challenging me to embrace a change factor and push past my woman-made barriers that cement my ideals.
Often when God is speaking to us, His voice goes against the grain of our own thinking and comfort; He challenges our normalcy; if we’re too rigid, we resist the spirit in our quest for comfort. We stay in our resort of resistance, never embracing the change that God wants for us. We die in our cocoon.
I realized that my rituals have become my resort. I’ve turned into a vigilante with my viewpoint so when I saw the cashier break the hundred-dollar bill for a four dollar purchase, I decided to tear down my haven of habits. I’ve decided to embrace change. I may not know what new things are on the horizon, but that’s okay. Just like a butterfly breaks out of his cocoon to explore his new life, I know God is able to help me spread my own wings and fly.
Prayer: Lord, I want to receive all that You have planned for me. Help me to recognize when You are directing changes in my life. I pray that I’ll have the faith to surrender my thoughts and attitudes that oppose Your will. Help me trust You especially when the journey of life doesn’t make sense and I can’t see the whole picture. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Scriptures to Ponder:
- The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God (Hebrews 7:18-19).
- His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? (Job 9:4).
- Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).
- “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! (Acts 7:51).
- What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Phillipians 3:8-9).
Questions to Ponder:
- Why do you think it is hard for some people to change their beliefs?
- Do you embrace or resist change? How do you feel about change?
- Have you ever let go of a major shift in your thinking?
- What caused you to change your mind? Was it easy or difficult?
- Do you sense that God is currently directing any changes in your life?