“If God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.” Romans 12:6
“I wish you would change.” Have you ever thought this about someone else? Have you thought it about yourself? The struggle for change is real.
Jabez went to the unchanging God and had a conversation with Him about the subject of change. He wanted the right kind of changes- mainly the kind of change that would bring freedom: Jabez called on the God of Israel saying “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. 1 Chron. 4:10
Before the prayer, a short description of Jabez tells us he was “honorable above his brothers; but his mother named Jabez sorrow maker, saying, because I bore him in pain.” What was this mother’s problem? How exactly was it Jabez’ fault anyway? Sorrow maker is the last thing I can think of for identifying any of my children! Though we don’t know why a parent would pass pain down to a child in the form of something as permanent as a name, we do know that this guy wasn’t having it! Jabez couldn’t change everything but he turned to God in prayer for the changing of the outcome of his own life. God was all about it; of course He wanted the complete opposite of sorrow for Jabez and thrilled he asked! It was the very thing God wanted all along…for Jabez to be blessed. This is what He desires for us also. He says it Himself in Jer. 29:11 “I have plans to give you a future and a hope…plans to prosper you and not to harm you” and because this was the kind of change God blessed, He granted it. One prayer for freedom and change. Joyce Meyer shares that the name Jabez’ mother gave him, “means she was unhappy about her circumstances and, at least to some degree, blamed Jabez for them…In spite of his mother’s mistakes and his disadvantages…Jabez grew up into a God-believing, praying man with wealth and influence and a heart to be a blessing to others…no matter how we get started in life, we can have a good finish if we put our trust in God”. Instead of a string of excuses, Jabez simply, strongly and passionately consulted God for a better life. Your life can change too. Stop think’n your doomed when you are destined. Quit quitting when your way has already been paved. Giving up midway is not what our Savior exampled for us. Stay the course, though the way of change has been complicated in our colorful world. The rainbow set originally as an incredible promise (Gen. 9) from God to never flood (read about why the flood happened in the first place) the whole earth again, is used in a community of people determined to bring change by coming out of the closet. Be careful about what you’re proud to bring out of secrecy. A little research explains that flags with a spectrum of colors have been used for centuries to represent change. The refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light along w raindrops, causes the arrangement of colors so this reminder pops up during the mixture of sunshine and rain, putting us at ease that this promise remains intact. Doesn’t this remind us of our lives, a mixture of sunshine and rain?! It’s a great symbol of His grace and how He spares each one of us of the debt our sins bring, if we choose Jesus to save us. He could flood us out but He promised. He could halt His love but He promised…He could go back on His Word when we ere, but He promised. Faithful He is to us, not desiring that anyone should perish. When we are flooded with tears of sorrow of this world, what we’ve done or what’s been done to us, we ought to all think of His colorful promise.
No matter what lifestyle we find ourselves in, we should be found (James 5:16) “confessing our sins one to another, and pray, so that we can be healed”; not reveling in our sin but spending time in prayer closets until we are truly changed. Coming out of secrecy of any kind, should bring an attitude of repentance and humility. Coming out of the closet changed, refreshed, pure hearted for others, ourselves and toward God without rebellion and hate (on both sides of the closet). I read recently about a boy who committed suicide. He was born a girl and at the age of 13 had decided to change. Grief hit my stomach for that family as I looked at the few beautiful pictures. Confusion stole the show. As a parent, words like “Be patient. Stick with the process of becoming. Don’t believe you have to change like this; come with me into the prayer closet and as we consult our Maker, we will prophetically speak over you and your life. Let’s make sure there are no entertained suggestions of the enemy” came to mind as I thought of this middle schooler and the whirl of emotions that must have surrounded her. We can’t make anyone believe or do what we think is right but we should be able to teach somebody about the prayer closet and the miracle of coming out of it different, whether they make their own choice to enter it or not.
God knew His Word would bring change to the whole world. When the Bible went viral all those years ago, so did His grace, healing, forgiveness, redemption, His hope, and His presence that no person is shut off from. Life Change should come from this perspective. It’s what Jesus Christ pursued when He left His peace in the form of the Holy Spirit, for us…the spirit opposite of confusion. It is settlement about who we are, what we’re doing and the decisions we’re making. It doesn’t come easy with the corroded world of unbelief, skepticism, wreckage, competitiveness, and cruelty that leaves us constantly sifting through piles of insulated worry, despair, mistrust. “Cultural toxins are things that are culturally acceptable but hurt our souls. Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean it is ok or right for us spiritually.” (Some changes do not bring freedom). “There’s an importance of focusing on things that draw us closer to God.” His changes improve our overall health and conscience, bring gladness and free captives! They’re not suppose to bind us, make us hate or cause us to want to take lives. People who are bound can only say they are free when Jesus frees them. Let me pray with you “Lord God, our Highest Source of completion…may we develop the deepest interest in You. We want our “soul detox”. Oh the refreshing of our hearts is our need! We want it all Your way. Today, our back is against the enemy and as we turn a deaf ear to his threatening, destructive lies, we hear Your Spirit’s dream and plan for us! Refusing Satan’s strategy, it is You that we trust and listen to. You change us and we will be changed. “You heal us and we will be healed. (Jer. 17:14) You save us and we will be saved. For You are the One I praise.” You free us God, and we will be free. We acknowledge independence was won and our spiritual freedom came because Jesus was bound and crossed. Then He rose again, conquering death, hell and the grave. Therefore, we are ruled not by a man or by our own selves but loved by God, our change and freedom!