Tag Archives: different

Changing Routes

When I lived in the Middle East, the U.S. Embassy would often tell us to change our routines and the way we went to work. We were told to find a different path, go in at different times and to be unpredictable in our routes. It was easy to take my route to the church each day. I would ride my bike over the flyover, go up a few blocks, turn left for one block and then go right. I waved each morning to the men at the bakery. I said, “Good morning” in Arabic to the furniture makers. I nodded at the guards at the intersections. I was comfortable in that route.

I think we love routine because we feel there’s safety in it. We can do it without thinking and it’s easy. We see the same things each day and they become ordinary to us. Changing routes and routines throws everything off. There are new sites, new people, and new patterns that cause us to have to be alert and to pay attention. We as Christians should be doing this in our lives often. Not only will it give us a heightened awareness of what’s around us, it can increase our circle of influence.

I pray each day for God to open my eyes to see what He wants me to see, but I keep the same routine and wonder why I’m not seeing anything. Changing routines and routes in our lives changes our perspective. It forces us out of the mundane and into the extraordinary. It allows God to reveal things to us that we couldn’t see from our old perspective. It helps us to see other people who need our help that weren’t in our path before. It keeps our lives fresh.

I’ve heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. How can we expect God to move in our lives, open our eyes and change our perspective if we just keep doing the same old things over and over? We have to get out of what is familiar to us. We have to quit asking Him to put people in our path and start asking Him to put us in their path! If we want to grow, we have to be willing to change.

I’m not a person who likes change, but the company I work for believes in it and I’ve learned to adapt. Being comfortable doesn’t help you to be the best. It helps you fall into a false sense of security. It makes you think that what you’re doing is enough. The rich, young ruler who went to Christ was comfortable. He had kept all the commandments since he was a kid. He did what was right. Jesus asked Him to make a radical change to his routine and route. He couldn’t do it and walked away sad. He wanted different results while doing the same thing.

What routines and routes do you need to change? What is God asking you to do differently than you’ve always done? Are you asking Him to put people in your path or to put you in their path? Changing isn’t easy and doesn’t produce immediate results always. It isn’t comfortable so we typically run from it. Don’t be afraid to ask God what paths, routines and routes in your life you need to change. Once you ask, have the faith to make those changes so you don’t end up like the rich, young ruler.

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Wearing a Suit at the Beach

Have you ever felt out of place? I did earlier this week. Some co-workers and I went to eat lunch at a place on the beach. After lunch, we decided to walk down a long fishing pier. The beach below was crowded with people swimming and sun tanning. The pier was full of people dressed similarly, but had fishing poles in their hands. The four of us walked down the pier in our dress shirts, ties, slacks and dress shoes. To say people took double takes would be an understatement.

It was hot. We were sweating. We kept walking all the way to the end of the pier though. As people stared, we politely smiled and acted as though we belonged. No matter how much we pretended, we just didn’t. We didn’t have the right attire on for the beach. We didn’t have the right mindset for the beach. We were business minded men in a crowd full of vacationers.

As a Christian, that’s how we’re supposed to be in this world. We are to stand out and to be different. I love how the Message phrases Romans 12:2. It says, “Don’t become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” At the beach, the culture is dress down, relax and have a good time. We were not well adjusted to that culture. Our presence was noticed by everyone.

In this world, the culture is continuing to move away from God. As Christians, it is not our job to be so adjusted to that culture that we fit in. We are to stand out, stand up and be different. We are to follow Christ even when it’s not popular. In John 15, Jesus said, “If you lived on the worlds terms, the world would love you as one of its own. I chose you to come out of the world.” He chose us to live differently. He said the world would hate us.

If Jesus said the world is going to hate us because we’re different, why do we spend so much time and energy trying to get them to love us? Our human nature wants to be loved and accepted. God’s acceptance should be more important to us than the world’s acceptance. We are called to be salt and light. Salt changes the flavor of everything it touches. Light chases away the darkness all around it. Are people changed by having me in their lives? Are your friends changed by having you in their lives?

Living for Christ in this world is like wearing a suit at the beach. You’re going to stand out. You’re supposed to stand out. In the same passage in Matthew 5 where Jesus calls us to be salt and light, He says, “Let your good deeds shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” We’re not different just to be different. There’s a purpose to it. That purpose is to draw other to the cross. They should see a difference in our lives versus the lives that live according to the culture of the world so we can reach them.

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