A fact of life is that times and seasons change. Sometimes brooks that sustain us dry up requiring us to leave things behind if we are to possess God’s best. Is God drying up things in your life? Is He causing you to look to Him for what is next? Is He prying your grip from things you are comfortable with so He can put new things into your hands?
One of the joys of starting a New Year is the opportunity it affords to initiate a long overdue and much needed change. It is a season ripe for a breakthrough – that will free us from the inertia of the past while propelling us to possess a preferred future – that will break us free from the old while enabling us to lay hold of the new. That is the essence of what we call turning over a new leaf.
When it comes to finally doing what we have hoped and longed to do, many of us can sound like the lame man laying at the Pool of Bethesda. He had a paralytic condition that hindered him from being able to respond in time to the stirring-of-the-water seasons that periodically came along for his healing. As a result, year after year rolled by with their missed opportunities, and his excuse for his inability to change became his testimony – “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.” (John 5:5 NIV).
Excuses abound when desired change is not forthcoming. We easily can become fixated on the things that seem to be holding us back. Not unlike the man stuck at the edge of the pool, just feet away from his breakthrough, most are quick to cling to excuses rather than seriously consider what it will take to overcome them and make the change. Or more precisely, WHO it will take to overcome them and make the change.
People who willingly make major positive changes in their lives share one thing in common. They have tapped into the power of motivation.
From personal experience, observation of other people’s lives and my study of scriptures I have come to this conclusion. Most defining changes in people lives can be attributed to one or more of three powerful motivations. Those motivations are love, truth and pain. They provide the primary tipping points for life change.
Three of the most radical changes in my life can each be attributed to one of these three motivations. Giving up a carefree single life to pursue the heart of my now wife of forty years was motivated by love – a love that began with a first sight meeting at the top of a stairs. Surrendering my life and future to the Lordship of Jesus Christ was motivated by truth that I discovered in studying the Bible – revealing that He was indeed the Son of God. And moving on to a new career would never have happened if I had not been so engulfed in the pain and frustration of a dead end job. Nothing motivates like being sick and tired of being sick and tired.
One of the great benefits of being a pastor is that over the years I have had the privilege of seeing God radically change the lives of many people. The before and after snapshots are stunning, particularly of those whose former selves were marked by addictions and destructive behavior. Interestingly enough, each person’s testimony almost always can be traced to an initial motivation to change and embrace Christ because of an encounter with God’s unfailing love, an undeniable truth or an unrelenting pain.
To test this theory, think about your own life and the significant changes you have made for the better. What brought you to a tipping point of change? What motivated you to take radical steps to give up the old in order to embrace the new?
The Gospels provide us many examples of how God uses love, truth and pain to motivate people to make major changes in their lives.
Most of us have a love hate relationship with change.
We want things to get better but we don’t want things to change. Here’s help in understanding there are 4 stages of change.