A Strategy for Change...Once It Begins

Change intrudes on everyone. We like to think we have control...like we can keep things from changing, but this is an unrealistic view of life. If we truly think we can keep the circumstances in our lives from changing then we are going to meet disappointment early and often in life.
 
Circumstances in the local church at Philippi were changing. Paul, the apostle who had planted the church, was in prison and facing eminent death. He knew some of the people were struggling with the changes so he gave them a strategy to use. Notice the instruction given by the Holy Spirit through Paul: Always be full of joy in the Lord; I say it again, rejoice! Let everyone see that you are unselfish and considerate in all you do. Remember that the Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God all of your needs...(Philippians 4:4-6)
 
When change comes knocking and you're not happy about it, Paul reminds us to...
1) Keep a good attitude - ...rejoice...
2) Guard against selfishness - ...see that you are unselfish...
3) Keep the proper perspective - ...the Lord is coming soon...
4) Pray - ...pray about everything...
 
Change has a way impacting our attitudes doesn't it? Its amazing how quickly we can get sour when something changes. Paul is saying, "Don't let that be you." God's goodness and generosity towards His people does not change even though our circumstances (health, jobs, church, family members) will.
 
If our attitude takes a nose dive, it could be an indication that we are being selfish. I remember when my boys learned how to walk...that was a big change. For several months, we could put then in a certain spot, walk away to do something, come back and find them right were we left them. Things changed when they started walking! Once those legs started working, we started spending most of our time trying to keep up with them. Sure, it was easier when they were infants, but it would have been selfish of me (even cruel) to not let them learn how to walk. That's how it is with change. Many times the changes that make us work harder are for someone else's growth. If we fight those changes, then we come off looking pretty selfish. 
 
No matter what changes take place on this planet, they will never fix what is broken. We need it to be that way, because if we could fix our broken world we would build a planet without God. One day, Christ is going to come back and He is going to fix everything that is broken. On that day there will be a lot changes and there will be many people not happy about it either. Paul is simply saying, "Relax, change is going to be a part of your life until Jesus returns and makes the final change." Change is one of God's ways of reminding us that the world is broken. Hopefully, the discomfort of change will motivate us to yearn for Christ's return. Paul is encouraging us to keep the proper perspective.
 
Last, when change starts rattling your world, Paul says, "Pray." One of the reason we struggle with change is because humans are fragile. We are needy. Just when we think we have arranged our lives to get what we need...something changes. God knows this about us. He knows we get worried and Paul says, "Turn your worry into an opportunity to pray." Praying is an activity that requires speaking and listening. Nothing impacts one's ability to speak and listen more than their attitude (see above). Again, using my boys as an example, the only time we have a difficult time talking and listening to each other is when their attitude (or mine) is sour. If attitudes are good, then communication is good. I think prayer works the same way.
 
If I had to guess, you are encountering some type of change in your life right now. How's it going? How's your attitude? Are you being selfish? How's your perspective on eternal things? Are you able to talk and listen to God? These things will determine how well you walk through the change.