Routines in an Ever-Changing World
Do you find life changing? Do you like change? We live in an ever-changingÂ world. Some changes are good like better knowledge for our health andÂ advances in technology but other changes are notÂ so great. WeÂ haveÂ become accustomed to higher divorce rates, families that split and divide, increasing rates of poverty, homelessness, joblessness, and stressed people creating increased issues with uncontrolled anger that opens the door for evil to abound.
I would like to say that I embrace change. A chance to do something new, exciting, perhaps bold but I do not really care for change at least change that I am not in full control of. I can be full of change for other people with a plethora of ideas to make things better, more efficient, or help others but please do not “mess” with my routine.
I don’t really like to admit it but I am a very routine personÂ probably bordering on boring. I get up pretty much at the same time every day and have aÂ sequence of activities that I go through. I make the bed, brush my hair, wash my face,Â andÂ get dressed. I realize that I really do this in this order pretty consistently.Â My orderedÂ routine continues as I pour my auto-prepared coffee always in my favorite mug,Â grab my Bible and devotional material, and then calmly sit and readÂ my morning study. This all works well unless I have to be somewhere earlier than my morning routine allows and thenÂ things generally fall apart as I do not adjust well with the change.
Yes, I attempt to change my schedule and do things differently on these days but most of the time it just doesn’t seem to work out right and either IÂ run late because I subconsciously refuse to change my routine or something gets missed which causes meÂ anxiety because I am an agendaÂ person. This starts my day off wrong as my comfort zoneÂ changes and that creates stress.Â I don’t like to be stressed because I like the comfort of the routine so I have unfortunately developed a reputation for being late as many of my friends and family will tell you.
Isn’t it great that our God is the great comforterÂ and He never changes? He is the same God with the same ways now that He was at the beginning of time. He has changed nothing. He loves the people of today as muchÂ as He did the people of the Old Testament. His decrees have remained timeless. He is a never-changing God in our ever-changing world. So why then have so many of us seemed to have turned away from God? Have our lives become such a routine that we like the world, are ever-changing to adjust ourselves to the world? Are we embracing the changes that addÂ selfish pleasure and ignoring the issues that we do not want to deal with or we feel that can be slipped by God?
Our focus verses this week are found in Malachi 3: 6-7;
“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.
Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ (NLT)
Disappearing Cheese and a Never Changing God
I recently felt lead to read a book that was given to my husband several years ago by Spencer Johnson M.D. titled Who Moved My Cheese. If you are not familiar with this little book it is the story about four characters that live in a maze who suddenly face unexpected change when they discover their cheese has disappeared. What I realized by reading the story is that they had become so dependent upon their routine they had become lazy and when suddenly challenged theyÂ had to deal with life a different way or face death.Â The cheese was changing every day and so were they.Â They were no longer grateful for the blessing of the cheese or whereÂ itÂ arrived from. They had changed unconsciously to the surrounding way of life that was changing simultaneously.
Most of us claim we do not like change and we attempt to stick to our same routines but what we do not realize is that our world is ever-changing and whether we follow routines or not weÂ also are changing to meet the demanding acceptance of the world. Occasionally we change to the ways of the world thinking we will find our comfort there in the tangible materialsÂ and familiar routines of our cultures. But the familiar is also constantly changing even if we do not notice itÂ and we will never find full solace there. If suddenly our cheese disappears where or whoÂ do we turn to then? Where is our comfort to be found? The book of Malachi tells us the answer is God.
God clearly tells us that He does not change and that if we will return to Him, He will return to us. We will find our comfort in our very unchanging God. We so often drift away from God thinking we are with Him when in truth we have becomeÂ so comfortable with the ways of the world we becomeÂ relaxed with what we think is the familiar and place God to the back of our lives as an afterthought to be gathered if we remember or grabbed in cases of emergency. We forget that our purpose on earth is to glorify God and instead more often glorify ourselves.
Sometimes life has a way of twisting and turning to the degree thatÂ we find ourselvesÂ abruptly without cheese.Â Several years ago my family’s cheese suddenly disappeared. We had become comfortable with the ways of the world. At the time weÂ found ourselves stunnedÂ as our way of life was suddenly turned upside down and we were facing things we knew nothing about. We were flying high on life and thought even with our problems we were on a steady unchanging routine following through with careers, children, and church.Â If God had spoken to us and told us to return to Him and He would return to us we, like the people in Jerusalem, would have responded that we had never gone away.
When your cheese suddenly disappears you begin to question what went wrong. You might look for blame even attempting to blame the producer and provider of all cheese but in essence sometimes cheese just disappears in an evil and ever-changing world. When your cheese disappears you often begin to see things differently. We realize now that not only had weÂ placed our main emphasis onÂ our cheeseÂ but that our cheeseÂ was changingÂ all along. And even though we didn’t realize it we had changed also.
When your cheese disappears, is randomlyÂ moved, or it changes in any way you slowly begin toÂ realize that not only are you not in control of the cheese you don’t makeÂ or produce your own cheese either.Â When we push aside the creator and provider of the cheese whetherÂ by fully renouncing the provider or just going through the motions of traditions and expectations without true worshipÂ the result is the same. We lose our purpose, experience displacement ofÂ comfort or peace, and ultimately have a severed relationship with God, the only provider.
WhenÂ we return to God and stay with GodÂ we will find comfort with our unchanging God. Our purpose is to glorify God and we can do that withÂ a repentantÂ “Heart of Worship” as Matt RedmanÂ has written.
I’m comin’ back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
When it’s all about You
It’s all about You, Jesus
I urge youÂ to not wait until your cheese changes, moves, or disappears to make God the focus of your worship each and every day because it is not about us andÂ it is not about our cheese. It is about the great provider of all.
Love in Christ,
Post Script I:
We have had many people ask us how we have survivedÂ and found peace in the mist of our cheese disappearing and we will soundly announce it is because we realized that we had to make God the center of our lives and our focus again. We do not hold the theory that God took away our cheese as it was the circumstances of an evil and ever-changing world that resulted in theÂ cheese disappearance however that being said we do acknowledge the responsibility that weÂ allowed our purpose of life (to glorify God)Â to slip to the back burner. Â We realize also the privilege we have that we knew God to begin with and now we want to make sure others know God too. So we are seriously committed to our role in the Great Commission.
We are still searching for our cheese and sometimesÂ we get a little bite, sometimes weÂ think weÂ smell it, and sometimes we only see it in our dreams but we know that eventually God will provide us with the cheese for eternity plan and we seek solace in that knowledge.
PostÂ Script II:
Author Spencer Johnson wrote 7 lessons called The Handwriting on the Wall in his book, Who moved My Cheese.Â I have taken the seven and adapted them somewhat below.
1. Change Happens – They Keep Moving The Cheese
Change is all around us each and every day no matter our routines. We must make sure our focus is on God and depend on Him for each and every change no matter how large or small.
2. Anticipate Change – Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
WhenÂ we have God as the heart of our everyday worship and focusÂ we are prepared for changeÂ to occur andÂ we will find the comfortÂ we needÂ if our world flips upside down.
3. Monitor Change – Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
We must not allow our relationship with God to become routine. Traditions in the church or at home are fine but not when they become rote and meaningless. WhenÂ we attend worship with others or alone we must praise God to our fullest remembering always that God sees our heart.
4. Adapt To Change Quickly – The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
When change occurs no matter how life altering itÂ seems, we should remember Romans 8:28 and trust that God will be providing new cheese no matter how impossible it may seem. Our God is in the business of miracles (Luke 1:37) and He can make all things possible!
5. Change – Move With The Cheese
WeÂ may not like the change that has occurred in our life but we must keep moving forward withÂ Christ at our side whether in the valley or on the mountain top. Taking comfort in our knowledge that one day all thingsÂ will beÂ right andÂ we will spend eternal glory with Christ
6. Enjoy Change! – Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste of New Cheese!
Our life isÂ about the journey along the way. We must make sure not to miss any part of the journey becauseÂ we are too busy trying to look whereÂ weÂ have been. We needÂ to see the beauty along the way. (For more insight on this see Finding Delight in the Walk of Life)
7. Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again and Again – They keep Moving The Cheese
Whatever stageÂ we are at whether it is just learning to know God, returning to God, or maintaining our relationship to God we must always be fully trusting God because there are no guarantees that our life will not change, change again, or seem to be in a continuous changing mode. We must always be Standing with the Deep Roots of Trust.
What are Your Thoughts on a Never-changing God in an Ever-changing World?
Have you found yourself in the crossroads of change? Has a changing life ever forced you to return to God? IsÂ Christ at the “Heart of Your Worship”? Have you ever found yourself just going through the motions of worship? Do you depend on our never-changing God for your comfort and peace? Join Us in Discussion on these topics or others that sparked from this week’s focus verses.