@robertkwendt || lead pastor
A couple of months ago, I was driving down 23 Mile Road, something I do often. As I was driving along, I noticed a drastic change in my scenery: a McDonald's had been completely torn down—as in nothing was left of it. This bewildered me. It was always packed. Cars were lined up in the drive-thru every day I passed it. The outside looked well maintained and nothing seemed to be wrong. What threw me for even more of a loop was the sign out front that read "Coming Soon: McDonald's." Why would a McDonald's that always seemed busy need to be torn down to nothing?
One reality we addressed in the beginning of our series on change is simply this: change happens. It has to. It's a part of life. As the old adage goes, "If you don't change, you die." The McDonald's was a perfect example of this. While it seemed like it was doing just fine, a change—a complete reconstruction—was still needed. Transformation had to happen.
transformation requires change
When Jesus was assembling his team (we call them disciples), he went and found ordinary men. In fact, the first four that he asked to follow him were fishermen (read Matthew 4:18-22). We see that, while they were all fishermen, Jesus found them in two completely different situations. Peter and Andrew were out on the water actively fishing (casting nets). Meanwhile, James and John were taking care of their equipment (mending nets).
This image can be true of our own lives. There are moments where we are actively out "fishing." In a sense, we are looking for a change. There are also times in our lives where we are simply "mending our nets." These are the moments where we cling on to what we have and are doing all that we can to preserve it. In this passage, we see that Jesus called these men to go through a drastic change in both types of situations.
If we are truly going to be transformed—if our lives are going to become different—if Jesus is going to be allowed to do a full work in each of us—then we must first accept the truth that in order for transformation to take place, change must happen.
In order for Jesus to truly be able to transform us—change has to take place. || tweet this ||
transformation is a process
In Matthew 16:13-23, we see a powerful, authentic, and real example of how transformation is a process. In verses 13-20, Peter (the same Peter who was fishing) confesses that Jesus is the Messiah (Savior of the world). He acknowledges Jesus as completely God. He comes to a place of confession.
As followers of Jesus, we can recall that moment of surrender in our lives. For me, it was when I was a young boy (3rd grade). It was while reflecting on some family struggles (my dad having a heart attack a continent away) that I realized I was completely in need of Jesus. I could never survive on my own. I needed the grace and love he offers. I was completely sold out for Jesus. Or so I thought.
The reality is that as I grew up, I faced the struggles that many teens and young adults have to go through. Why wasn't this Jesus so popular with my friends? I wanted to be liked by others, so how could I live for Jesus but also for myself? As time went on, I began to live for the world much more than for God.
Church was something I did, but Jesus was no longer my everything.
It was through the trials, through my rebellion, and even currently through my struggles that Jesus began to use changes, hardships, and pain to transform me into a man more and more after his heart. It was and still is a process.
Right after Peter confesses Jesus as Lord, we see him try to take control. He believes Jesus is the Messiah, but he doesn't want Jesus to have to face death. He doesn't want him to have to fulfill the prophecies he was tasked to fulfill. He wants Jesus, but he isn't completely sold out on the mission Jesus is on. It is in this moment Jesus utters these words when speaking with Peter: "Get behind me Satan! ... For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man" (Matthew 16:23).
We often resist change. We don't allow transformation to take place. We do this because our minds are set on the things of this world, rather than the ways of God.
When we resist the change God is leading us through, it's basically saying, "My ways are better than your ways, God." || tweet this ||
when we rely on jesus—we win
After gathering his team together (disciples), Jesus takes them up on a mount and talks with them. This is the talk referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. It's in the conclusion of this talk that Jesus explains the difference between a house built on the rock versus a house build on the sand (read Matthew 7:24-27). Here's the key takeaway from what Jesus told his team then and what he tells his team (those that follow him) now.
Storms are going to come your way. You are going to face trials, tribulation, temptation, terrible things. How you survive such things depends on where your foundation is built.
Is your foundation built on the sand? This is where we build our hopes on the things of the world—money, houses, family, fun, enternainment, the here and now. If this is the case, you will see everything come to ruin.
Is your foundation built on the solid rock? This is Jesus Christ. Do you surrender to him? Do you find your hope not in the things of this world, but in the eternal life followers of Jesus are promised? If this is the case, you will see through a whole new perspective. The small pains we experience now are nothing compared to the eternity we will get to spend with Jesus.
Change is going to happen.
Change is going to challenge.
Change is going to hurt.
Change (if we let it) is going to transform.
Let Jesus transform you. Embrace change. You won't regret it.