Text: 2 Corinthians 5:14-19 August 19, 2012.
1) This is how people feel: Most people hate changes, or so I¡¯ve heard. But the changes we generally resist are the kind we think will make our life condition worse rather than better. We usually are eager to change of jobs when it means higher pay, more prestige or power. We happily move to a bigger house in a better location and love to drive a new car. So, we don¡¯t hate all changes; we just hate changes that may involve loss physical, emotional or psychological.
2) This was how Paul felt: Paul had the most dramatic change of life anyone may imagine. He was changed from a hater of the new doctrine of salvation by faith through Jesus Christ to a martyr of the gospel. He was changed from a persecutor of the faith to a faithful and true disciple of that faith. He was changed from trying to earn salvation by his good work to an advocate of the free gift of salvation by the grace of God. He was changed from arresting Christians to making people Christians. He was joyful of the Change God has done on him, he wanted to make more people to have the same change he had.
CHANGES WE RESIST:
1) We love our comfort zone: Building a comfort zone is like building a nest of the birds or a castle of the nobles, it took so much time, resource, energy and hard work to get it done. We even love to shop in a store we have shopped with for years because everything is so familiar: where to find things we need. This is also true about routines of life, when to do what and how to do it. We are comfortable of the familiar environment even though it may not be the most efficient or the best way to live. That is why people keep junk for years that are blocking their hallway, piling up in their bedroom or taking all the space in their garage.
2) We are afraid of the unknown: Most changes involve some elements of unknown and facing the unknown is never easy: like going to a new school, move to a strange place, taking a new job in an unfamiliar working environment. Many times unknown means strange, taking risks, stress or even worry. In this economic down turn, some have lost their job but are reluctant to look for jobs that involves relocation, particularly those who have children because they feel more secured to stay in a familiar environment.
3) We don¡¯t see the needs to change: This is true particularly on change of life style, way of doing things, value system, habit or other everyday life routines. It took much time to build a habit, some values of life and ways of doing things. So, any change is deemed as a threat to our way of life. This is true to all people, particularly the older ones.
4) We don¡¯t want to spend efforts: All changes involve degrees of effort on our side and some are not willing to pay for that. This includes mindset change, value change, routines change, purpose or goal change. There is a saying that tells us all: if it isn¡¯t broken, why change?
CHANGES WE EMBRACE:
1) If that change is in my way: I put this first because we all have that inner longing to have all things go my way, and if they are not my way in the first place, then change them to fit my way. Ever since we were small, we love to have all people do things our way, prepare food we like, get dressed with clothes we want and make everyone else act the way we want them to act. We are so used to put ¡°I, me, mine¡± in front of everyone else¡¯ while we grow up, so, if things need to change, change to my way seems logical. But if all things must go your way what about me and my life and my way? Many human conflicts arise because everyone wants things go his way leaving every one else behind.
2) If that change benefits me: This is another common trait of self-centeredness: good for me. We love changes that promote our well being, elevate our position or power, add to our personal gain of self esteem. Be it at home, in school or at work, we all want to see changes that bring us some benefits. In almost all cases, we love changes if we can receive the benefits of them.
3) If that change helps me grow: This is a more positive way to see changes: we love to grow, to further our ability, potential and contribution to whatever we do. No one wants to get stuck in a situation that has little or no hope to grow or to advance. We all desire to grow, to advance, to promote and to achieve more, higher, better. Particularly when we are in a stationary situation, we look for changes.
4) If that change benefit others: This is a higher level of un-selfish goal of change: we look for changes not to benefit us but to benefit others. We see this benevolent attitude in many people such as parents, teachers, social workers, preachers, missionaries, people who volunteer for the well being of others. There is an army of these people in our churches and in the society who work tirelessly for benefits of others to change their lives, their future, their personal value and potential. This is the best purpose to seek change for the good of others. On this point, we have many good people in our church.