We don’t love or hate change because it is entirely dependent on what the change is.
The word ‘Change’ can sound inconsequential or vague – but perhaps what I would like to teach on for a couple of weeks could better be understood by transition!
Because ‘change’ sounds trivial and ‘I changed my hair colour…’ WOW big life decisions!
People tend to understand TRANSITION because it is a more deliberate and serious part of life movement or flow.
- Transition stages of life – kid – adult – single – married – kids – no kids – grand kids.
- Transition in your working life – from one field to another – or from full time to part time – working to retired.
- Transition from one stage of life to another or one level of responsibility to another level.
- As believers – not knowing God to knowing Him.
Matthew 16:1-3 (NIV)
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.
2 He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ 3 and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times!
We know the weather, but miss the important things of life.
This speaks to Jesus’ instruction that we ought to be aware of transition and change – not resist it, but understand it.
- There is a voice and purpose of God in it if we listen and look.
- There is a bigger picture if we are willing to consider it.
- There are others involved if we will consider them.
- What does this transition mean for me and my purpose?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)
3 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
This passage sums up life and transition.
Whether we think we like change and transition or not – let me just give everyone here the heads up – IT WILL HAPPEN!
- Some will be good, some will be bad!
- Some change will happen quickly and unexpected, some slow and frustrating!
- Some change will be from your own decisions and actions, some from, or because of others decisions or actions.
- Some will be embraced by peers, some hated by peers.
- Some will make life easier and some will make life harder.
The only guarantee we have is that life will have change. We can either learn to transition well, or fail to transition and become one of those people who fail to transition and refuse to move on.
Kerrin knew it was time to move on from Youth Leadership when he realised that the youth didn’t know his style of music. They wanted a very different style.
We will all face transitions of a variety of different reasons and in a huge variety of ways, so we should probably consider what the Bible says about how we face them.
If they are certain, then the solution is not avoiding them, denying them, or wishing they were different, but dealing with them in line with the Word of God and His best for our lives is the right way to transition.
Decide to transition well!
I want to talk about the voices we listen to in TRANSITION.
The first thing we need to do is make a decision that we will approach transition with Faith!
1. The voice of FAITH in transition!
Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NIV)
Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions.
(NLT) – Don’t long for “the good old days.” This is not wise.
Is there any possible blessing to ourselves or others, ANY possible way FAITH is attached to our transition if we look BACK and WISH it was like then or we were back there?
It is too easy to look back and wish rather than look forward and decide!
- But there is not future for the person who constantly wishes or looks back.
- It takes no creativity or faith, there is no skill in the game or discipline required to look back and wish!
All of us will face transition and the Biblical way to face it is with the eyes of FAITH!
Believing God for the best!
- Asking God – what can I do to bless in this transition?
- God – what is YOUR PURPOSE in this?
- Where to from here, this isn’t what I expected but how do I bring You into this God?
- Go back and re read the scriptures looking for NEW PROMISES of God to believe for that to relate to OUR NOW! Don’t look back on old promises that you highlighted in you previous Bible, buy a new Bible and find new promises.
- If my horizon has changed or my surroundings, what could I dream given this new setting?
If this is what the NEW looks like God, then what can I ADD to it.
- So many people pull back on progress because they are looking back rather than finding what they could carry and picking it up and going with it!
New Transition can initially be challenging or sad, and this, in no way, is trying to minimise that, but give a faith way to approach it.
- We could find ourselves with an illness or injury that affects our life.
- We could be forced out of a job, industry or profession we loved.
- We could face a trauma or time of sadness.
- We may have to change some friendships because of what God is calling us to.
- It could be our family now looks different from what we wanted or had thought due to death, divorce, broken relationships, abuse changes the game. We are not 20 anymore. Don’t fail to make the transition. Don’t be afraid of it. It’s not dependent on our age. It’s the transition we need to be a part of.
Perhaps it is a positive transition.
- A new season that requires more discipline – but carries more influence.
- A new job with much greater responsibility.
- A new family member, kids or getting married.
- A new sense of calling or commitment to God.
- A move to a new place.
But in whatever case – FAITH must be the lens we CHOOSE to look through.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.
(NIV) – 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful;
This however is a choice to listen to the voice of faith, because other voices will say:
- Be sorry for yourself.
- You will never get over this or through this.
- This is too hard for you.
- Who do you think you are?
- How will this work?
- What if you fail?
But God’s Word says:
Romans 8:28 (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
Choose in transition to listen to the voice of faith! Refuse to listen to other voices.
2. Face it with Foundations
John the Baptist is one of the heroes of the Bible!
- He commits to a strict way of living to separate himself for God’s purposes.
- He prepares the way for Jesus.
- He actually sends a couple of his disciples to be Jesus first disciples.
- He gives his life as a martyr.
- Jesus says of John – that no one greater will ever be born among women.
John 1:19-26 (NIV)
19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” 24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know. 27 He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John didn’t have any of these stupid reactions because HE HAD FOUNDATIONS, CONVICTIONS! He knew
- Who HE wasn’t.
- Who He was.
- Who Jesus was.
- What He was called to do.
Know who God says you are!
One of the reasons people struggle with transition is they don’t have the foundations of their life and faith constructed well and given a storm – the foundations start to shake!
- IS God good?
- Is God real?
- Can he turn ALL things for good or just some?
- Am I called or does this transition make me wonder if I am called?
From personal experience EVEN IF WE DO HAVE GOOD FOUNDATIONS, they will get a shaking and some messing with those foundations, BUT THAT IS OK. It’s alright for the foundations to be shaken!
It’s in transition that these things WILL BE TESTED – that is normal and we ALL face this… BUT that is why we need to have strong foundations so when the shaking happens we can still stand strong. Come back to God’s Word adn His promises. See things from an eternal perspective.
Build convictions and foundations about:
- Who God is.
- Our commitment to Him and His purposes for your life.
- The Bible as the Word of God. Know the Truth and be set free.
- His promises for our lives.
- Our commitment to family, marriage.
- Our belief for blessing, joy, life, God’s best.
- Our character and how we will live.
Because none of these need to change just because we face transition or a new season! They might be challenged and shaken up, but that’s okay.
We need foundations NOW for TOMORROW and we WILL NEED THEM!
Even John the Baptist, in prison (a Roman one) with little hope, sent messengers to Jesus to say, ‘Just checking you are the one…’
- Jesus response was to go tell him what you see – and John was AOK with that little nod
- His foundations were good enough to hold up
Transition will happen so we must be prepared, and the key is to lay foundations today – so when tomorrow comes and there is a new season, a change, transition, or something we didn’t expect or see, we can have a surety and confidence in God. We can face it with FAITH when we have GOOD FOUNDATIONS.
3. Face it with FRIENDS – the voice of good friends.
Their words will keep you on the right track.
Proverbs 27:6 (NKJV)
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
(NLT) 6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
Transitions are a KEY TIME for GOOD and RIGHT FRIENDS to be voices in our lives.
- Be careful who you gather around you when you are facing transition. We are often vulnerable in transition, a little unstable or unsure when we are working through things, perhaps frustrated.
It is too easy to surround ourselves with the voices we know will tell us what we want to hear. Those who do this are people who do not transition well. They can’t be trusted to have proven, stable, godly voices of good reputation. They seek whoever agrees with them or sees things their way.
This is where we need GODLY FRIENDS that will love us, listen, encourage but also love us enough to tell us what we don’t want to hear:
- Deal with your attitude!
- Get over it!
- That’s not healthy or a right perspective!
These are the wounds a friend will give! Invest in good friendships!
- It is like a surgeon who makes a wound to fix an unhealthy body part – the wound brings healing and correction.
Do we have these friends?
- This is why I harp on about Connect Groups – Good relationships!
- Who is a reliable, trustworthy, Godly voice in our life and when was the last time we went out of our way to engage it?
- INVEST in it NOW so when TRANSITION comes and our personal compass is struggling – they can help provide a TRUE NORTH.
Proverbs 12:26 (NIV)
The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Suggestions for Discussion Questions
- Are you in a transition stage of your life? If so, how will you deal with it?
- Can you believe God for the best in this transition?
- Will you decide to transition well?
- Have you made good Godly friends who will help you transition well?