Thursday, September 11, 2014

Making a Change

 One of the hardest things we have to do in this life is to make changes.  Whether it is giving up a bad habit, moving to another location, or adapting to a new diet, we need God's grace to help us along the way.  I have found this out with my new lifestyle program I am taking right now.
     As many of you know, I discovered that I had a diagnosis of heart disease back in July.  In fact, my heart required a stent.  It was a big wake up call for me.  I had two choices: continue to do what I had been doing with the hope that medication would keep me healthy or make some other lifestyle changes.  For me, the choice was not complicated.  I did not want to depend solely on medication to keep me going so I entered cardiac rehab.  There I have been learning how to improve my health through diet and exercise.  Rehab also led me to the CHIP program (Cardiac Health Improvement Program).  It is a major departure from the way I used to eat focusing only on plant based eating and eliminating high sodium and animal products.
     Today, I spent time pulling things out of my cupboard that I can no longer eat.  It is amazing how many things I needed to get rid of, but it is worth it to regain my health.  While this program helps me to lose weight, the primary goal is overall health.  The change is big, but when your health is at stake, most of us are willing to do whatever it takes.  Likewise, the same should be true in our walk with Christ.
     According to the Apostle Paul, when we became a believer in Jesus Christ, the old man died and we have become new creations.  In his letter to the Corinthian Church, he writes:  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come"  (2 Corinthians 5:17).  God gives us a new heart, removes our sin and imputes the righteousness of Christ to our lives.  It is a miraculous and life changing event.  Who could ever imagine that the God of the Universe would do this for us, but He has!
     All this being said, we also have a part.  Our part is to open our hearts up to God daily that the Holy Spirit might convict us of any areas which we have not fully yielded to the Lord.  It is an ongoing process not a one time event.  We will not be perfected in this world, but we must remember that we are changed by His grace and power.  Therefore, we must put away sin, and leave behind our old flesh with its habits, temptations, and weakness.
     Being a believer in this world today means we must go against the flow of society that is steadily marching towards the wide gate that leads to Hell.  We may lose friends, jobs or even our life, but we have a salvation that is sure.  This, too, is a life or death matter when it comes to change just like my diet.
     I have already had many well meaning people tell me that this won't work or that I will quit when my educational classes conclude.  However, I have a different resolve now than I did before.  I know how serious my health status will be if I return to eating and living as I did before this incident.  As I told my husband, it is a shame I didn't do something before this, but so often, we are complacent until there is a wake-up call.  I do not want the same thing to happen in my spiritual life either.
     We have been warned in Scripture to: "8 Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8).  Therefore, we need to make changes.  Make time for God in prayer.  Study His Word daily, and do not miss the opportunity to worship together with a church family.  This is how the Holy Spirit will work within us to grow us, cleanse us and continually fill us with the power to live each day going against the flow.  Let us begin to make changes in how we live for Christ that we might not be caught off guard when difficulties come.  Our spiritual health is at stake!  Selah!

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons author Cheryl

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