Change with Benefits

Monday, January 24, 2011

Having served as a Change Coach for five years, I learned a great deal about the process of change. For many people, change is associated with loss. In order to bring about effective change, the coach must show the benefits of change.

Have you ever considered the change that many of the early Christians must have experienced? Many of them had been Jews, and Jesus introduced a change in nearly every aspect of their lives – their worship, their laws, their relationships, their daily living.

The Jews knew a distant, unspeakable God. Jesus introduced a personal God.
Jews referred to God asYahweh, yet they didn’t even speak his name. Jesus called him Abba, Father. Jews followed very strict worship instructions:
Bring only a spotless lamb to the tabernacle.
Do not touch the Ark.
Do not look at it or you will die.
Always let smoke cover the ark.
Never enter the Most Holy Place.
Only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place once a year. He would fasten a rope around his ankle with a bell on it. If he died, someone could drag him out. Jesus introduced a personal form of worship. He introduced an approachable God.

How do you think the Jews adjusted to the changes that Jesus brought? How do think their balance was affected?

The Jews followed the laws of the Ten Commandments and tenets of the Mosaic laws. They cited the wisdom of the rabbis who had gone before them. When Jesus, who had never attended a rabbinical seminary, came on the scene, he challenged the authority of the rabbis. He didn’t dwell on the hundreds of commandments found in the Jewish law. Instead, he offered simple principles for living. We read in scripture Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said…, but I say to you…”

Matthew 5:43-44
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 22:37-40
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

New followers of Jesus had to make many adjustments to the progress that Jesus brought. They established new priorities and as a result, many of them were imprisoned or stoned.

Those early Christians were what we call innovators or early adopters. How grateful we are for those men and women who embraced the change that Jesus offered! They took a risk. They trusted in Jesus and just think about the benefits of that change!

What can we learn about adjusting to change by studying the lives of these early Christians? When we fully give our lives to Christ, we too experience change. Are you willing to experience the change that Jesus brings? It comes with great benefits!


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