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Articles

The Pain of Change

This week has found our house in a sense of chaos. We are currently in a transition to sell our current house and purchase another one that will better meet our needs as a family. (No . . . we are not relocating). 

Rooms are filled with boxes that are half-packed and open. The hallway upstairs has boxes stacked to be taken to storage as we ­de-clutter. Outside, workers have been ­replacing rotten wood and painting the exterior of the house. Inside they are hanging doors, patching drywall, and painting ceilings and trim. Let’s not forget the carpet company that visited on Friday which means there will only be more chaos. 

On top of that, we are still a family of five. Laundry is being done. Dinners are being cooked and then cleaned up. And, it’s the end of the school year for the three children and mom who is a teacher. Add to that the quick trip to Nashville for a friend’s graduation. It is quite possibly the worst time of the year to have our house in complete disarray. 

All of the chaos reminded me of one undeniable fact of life: change is hard. It hurts. It is painful. It is never easy. 

That serves as a good parallel for our lives. Making changes in our life is difficult and painful. Especially when we are trying to change from a life of sin to a life of righteousness. 

In Colossians 3, Paul describes the change all disciples must make. He says we must remove ­immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires, covetousness, anger, wrath, ­malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying (vv. 5–11). Those removed parts of our life are replaced with ­compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and love (vv. 12–14). 

That sounds easy when you read it. But there is an important word Paul uses in v. 5: “Put to death . . .” Death is painful. Removing the former practices of our lives is not easy at all. 

Jesus described it as radical surgery:

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. (Matt. 5:29–31)

Plucking your eye out hurts. Amputating your hand is painful. What we learn is that change isn’t easy at all. It is difficult. So difficult that Peter even warned about former friends and companions who will not only fail to understand the change, but will openly mock you as well (1 Pet. 4:3–5). But know this—the change is worth it. It is worth the pain to be in a right relationship with God.

One more thing . . .  There is never a good time to make the change. If you wait for the right time, it will never come. There is never a good time to turn your life upside down. You can always find a reason to put it off . . . until one day it’s too late. 

So don’t delay. If you need to change, do it today!