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Posted: June 24, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Making Changes

Change is inevitable.

We change jobs, cars, houses, schools, eating habits, our clothes, and our minds. In fact, we are constantly changing.

Even so, many of us resist change.

In Colossians 3:1-11, Paul gives three positive points to begin to make much needed changes:

Change your focus. Paul says, "Set your sights on heaven." In other words, "Look up." Today, many churches are so concerned about numbers that they focus on the membership roster rather than trusting God to grow the church. We have to look up to see the goal.

Change your way of thinking. First, we have to set our eyes on God. Then, we have to set our minds on God.
Memorizing scripture is a good way to keep the word of God always in our minds and our hearts, so when those discouraging thoughts come, we can more easily remember God's word. Think about driving a manual transmission, or "stick shift," car. You practice and practice stopping and starting until it becomes instinctive to change gears and to apply the clutch at the right time. Then, when you're in a crisis, you don't panic, but you instinctively move to control the car.

Being a Christian is like that. We read and study God's word all the time so that when we face a crisis or temptation, we can instinctively recall Scripture to help see us though the rough times.

Change your wardrobe. Paul says, in essence, "Hold a funeral for sin." "Put to death the evil lurking within you" (New Living Translation).
Guess what? You have to read God's word to know what those things are.

In order to change clothes, first you have to take off the old sinful clothes. Get rid of sin because it harms our relationship with God and with each other.

Next, we must put on new clothes of righteousness and holiness. By daily Bible study, prayer, fasting, partaking of Holy Communion, worshipping in community, and by helping others, we can grow closer to God and thus be renewed in our thinking.

Finally, Paul reminds us that Jesus loves us all equally, and we should love each other equally, not thinking any better of ourselves than we think of our neighbors, and helping those who need our help, regardless of their race, color, creed, nationality, gender or limitations.

Change is not easy, but with God's help, we can change as we learn to work together and love each other in the name of our one Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ngumc.net.

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