How to Have Change in Your Life

Bill Brinkworth

At one time, many have had some desire to change something about their lives.  Perhaps it was a flaw in their character, morals, or lifestyle that had them concerned about how it was or would affect their lives.  It may have been a drinking or smoking problem, lying, deceitfulness, lack of living the way the Lord would have them live, adultery, or a host of other self-induced problems in their lives that has them distressed.

The problem bothered them so, that they did make an attempt to stop the habit, spiritual, or behavioral problem.  Too often, they were successful, but only for a short time.  This added to their situation and more guilt creeped in, making matters worse.  They tried again, and failed. Soon they saw no hope of altering, and just ignored or accepted what was wrong in their lives, and never attempted to change it again.  They had lost hope they could get the victory over what was discomforting to them.

Others, however, saw their weaknesses, sin, or something that had to be changed in their lives, and although they may have struggled, seemed to get the victory over what they felt compelled to change in their lives.  What is the difference that would cause one person to fail over a weakness and another to triumph over what was handicapping his life?

Although not applicable to every situation, the story of a problem in Nehemiah’s life sheds some light on biblical principles that, when applied, can cause one to have a change that can be lasting.

Nehemiah was a cupbearer for a king.  When Nehemiah heard how the center for his Jewish worship, Jerusalem, was destroyed, in shambles, and not being used to worship God, he was broken-hearted (Nehemiah 1:4). 

One of the first needed attitudes to change any situation is a genuine, broken-heartedness for what needs changing in one’s life, as did Nehemiah.  The usual “Oops,” or “I’ll not do that again” may not be strong enough to cause a permanent change.  A nonchalant attitude is usually one that will only temporarily change a situation.  An earnest heart-wrenching conviction, on the other hand, is a first step in a permanent change.

The second step in his desire to rebuild Jerusalem was he went to God. During his mourning for what had happened and his weeping over the terrible thing that had happened to the worshipping of God, he prayed; he fasted; he did all he could to get hold of God for His help.  Nehemiah earnestly sought God’s intervention in a situation he was confident that only He could remedy.

Likewise, when we have problems, the first ear that should hear of our needs is not our friend, family, neighbor, or any listening ear, other than God’s.  He is the one that can change all situations.

Thirdly, Nehemiah admitted the problem. He admitted that he and his people had sinned (Neh. 1:6-7) causing the people to stray from worshipping and allowing their place of worship to get in the condition in which it was. To get a real change in one’s life, one first must be honest with himself and God. Confess honestly your sin; and do not justify it because it was the teacher’s, parent’s, friend’s, or someone else’s fault.  Admit what sin was committed, and sincerely want to change what caused the situation in the first place.

Next, the convicted Nehemiah remembered what the Word of God said (Neh. 1:8-9), and trusted in its promises. Today’s sinner also needs to read, know, and do what the Bible says.  It is God’s roadmap through life.  If it is not followed, one will usually make wrong turns, and often regret that God’s way was not followed.

Lastly, and one of the most important steps, is Nehemiah put “feet to his prayers.”  After doing all he could to get back in fellowship with God and get his heart right, he had to do the work to make a difference.

Too many are sorry for the situation they usually got themselves into, but fail to do anything about it.  They wait around for some sign to drop out of Heaven with a note from God saying, “It’s all better now, my son.  Go and play.”  It usually does not work that way.  Work is usually involved to get to where we need to be.  Often that work is harder, the longer we put off getting right with God.

In Nehemiah’s case, he went to Jerusalem, surveyed the situation, and got those that still wanted to do right and worship God His way and were willing to work.  Together they rebuilt that mighty city, faced political and physical hardships and confrontations (If you think you have confrontations read Nehemiah to learn of what he faced), but the work was completed and worship again was started.

In our case, the work may involve admitting to others our sins, so we can get it right with the one we wronged, making it more difficult to go down the same wrong road we went down previously.  It may involve dissolving friendships with the wrong people, stopping a sin or habit “cold turkey”, apologizing to people, or even confessing a wrongdoing to authorities or friends.  It should also include confessing it to God.

The road back to where one should be is usually very difficult and costly.  The high price builds character and humility.  One often pays such a high price to return to doing right that the price will instill permanently the value of doing the right thing; so it does not happen again.  Doing the right thing or getting back to doing what should be done should be important to one that is on the wrong road.  It may be hard to turn one’s life around, but the principles taught by Nehemiah’s example worked for him; with God’s help, they will work for you, also.

 Character is only as strong as the weakest part.”

  The Fundamental Top 500