You must be the change you want to see —MAHATMA GANDHI
God has given you the power to make decisions that will change your circumstances and reverse the negative conditions in which you live. Wistful and wishful thinking never change anything. As Mahatma Gandhi said, you must be the change you want to see. Change is not just a process or a principle. It is a person.
Jesus Christ is our agent of change. He is the one who gives us the power to change. In order to see the kind of changes you desire in your life, home, community, ministry, business, government, schools, and nation, you must be intentional. Intentionality is powerful because it refuses to be limited by what is. It forces you to see the possibilities that lie ahead and to find the resources to bring to pass what could be. It forces you to have hope in the future rather than mourning the behaviors, habits, and people we must leave behind. It can be difficult to walk away from maladaptive sets of behaviors and undermining habits. But you must resist the temptation to hold on to them or to take comfort in feeling victimized because that will stagnate your growth and development.
God has prepared an incredible inheritance for you. Choose to accept it! Don’t live a shabby life. Don’t live in a state of subsistence, just barely getting by. There are greater things in store for you just ahead. Follow the example of the apostle Paul and press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14)!
“God has given you the power to make decisions that will change your circumstances and reverse the negative conditions in which you live.”
I close with an inspiring story that was shared with me. It goes like this: A caretaker faithfully served the lord of a manor for many years. The family of the caretaker had, in fact, served the family of the present lord for many generations. The lord had no heirs, and when he grew older and eventually died, he left the caretaker a suitcase with some documents in it. The caretaker couldn’t read, so he put the suitcase away in the attic and forgot about it. Because he had always lived in the little cottage on the estate next to the manor, he continued to live there with his family, and together they kept the house in good repair, the gardens trimmed, and the estate in proper order— working themselves to exhaustion every day, even though no one lived in the big house.
Eventually the caretaker himself was on his deathbed, and his son returned from school to be with him. The caretaker’s thoughts turned to the old suitcase, and out of curiosity he told his son where to find it and asked him to read him the papers inside of it. What the son found was the last will and testament of the lord, in which he had left the entire estate to the caretaker! All those years he had lived in the little cottage on the edge of the estate working his fingers to the bone, when he could have moved into the big house and hired others to do the work for him!
In the same way, many of us live in a small corner of our potential, imprisoned by the events of our past, either because we don’t realize all we are purposed to be or because we don’t realize all we have available to fulfill that purpose. The whole estate of potential is ours, but we look at the obstacles, blockades, and booby traps between the small corner where we are now and the rest of the expanse—and we have no idea how to get from here to there. All we see are the walls and fences between us and our dreams. We believe the lies that these barriers are impenetrable. We accept the “no trespassing” signs put up between the little we now have and the abundance that is rightfully ours. But we can change. The choice is ours.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
You don’t have to remain in a self-imposed prison of failure, pain, shame, or rejection because you struggle in one area or another. You can overcome your past and embrace the freedom and liberty found in Christ Jesus. Overcoming your past starts with the decision to take responsibility for your life and to act on the knowledge you have. Take action now. Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.” Don’t look back and wish that things were different; you only waste precious time regretting and lamenting, because regret never changes anything.
If there’s one certainty in life it’s that things will not always go according to plan! But plan anyway. Plan for a brighter future. Trust God in the process. Remember, He will never leave you or forsake you. He has sent His precious Holy Spirit to help you. He will help you to get back on course when you are derailed. As long as you recommit yourself to your goal, you will be able to recover from your mistakes. Go easy on yourself but keep going.
The power to choose is yours: victim or victor, life or death, blessings of cursing, success or failure. (See Matthew 11:12; John 10:10; Deuteronomy 30:19.) In one of my favorite books, Man’s Search for Meaning, holocaust survivor Viktor E. Frank l said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” God has given you the options. Now the choice is yours. Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth. —ISAIAH 43:18–19