Whoever said, “Don’t Ever Change,” Didn’t Know You Very Well

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit,”
 (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).
Isn’t it funny what you think you know in High School? I was looking back through my old High School Yearbook, 1975 to be exact. It was my Senior year. The end of an era. We were the Gryphons, oh yeah…mighty, mighty Gryphons, oh yeah. (The Gryphon was our team mascot, for all those who might not know the cheer).

The skirts were short, the bellbottoms were wide, and the hair…oh the hair. My white friends all had long straight hair parted down the middle like the Red Sea – both the boys and the girls. My African American friends had big afros – really big. (Now don’t anybody send me an email saying I’ve offended you. You know seventy’s hair was a sight to behold. Come on. Admit it.)

But what interested me the most were all the farewell notes written throughout the pages by friends, and some folks I barely even knew. Of course people tried to write nice things about each other. “You are so sweet.” “You are nice.” “You had cool clothes.” “You’ll go far in life,” whatever that meant. Others wrote about favorite memories shared.  “I remember when….” “I’ll never forget when…”   What’s funny is I can’t remember half of what the “I’ll never forget” comments were talking about.

In all the scribbled farewells and best wishes, one line stuck out among all the rest. “Don’t ever change.” It was repeated time and time again. I wonder how many times I wrote that same line in someone else’s yearbook.

Oh my mercy. I can’t imagine what I’d be like if I had followed that astute wisdom from my fellow classmates. “Don’t ever change.” It’s frightening!

I can almost hear Satan giving a big Gryphon cheer. “That’s right girl! Don’t ever change! Stay the same ole’ insecure girl you’ve always been! Keep feeling like you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not talented enough and not pretty enough! Don’t ever change! Don’t grow in your relationship with Jesus. You know everything you need to know right now. You’ve got your ticket to heaven. That’s enough. You don’t need to learn anymore of that Bible stuff. Don’t ever change. You’re fine just the way you are!”

Well praise God I didn’t follow the advice written in my High School yearbook. I did change…a lot. And I’ve got more changing to do…a lot.

All through the New Testament, Paul wrote letters to Christians encouraging them not to stay the way they were, but to change. Here’s just one example in his letter he wrote to the Ephesians church:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

I think if Paul had been a fellow Gryphon, and written in my High School yearbook, he would have penned something like the following: “Please, Sharon, whatever you do, change! Don’t stay the same as you are today. Continue to grow and mature in your faith. Make it your goal to become more and more like Jesus with each passing day. And Sharon, please do something about that hair.”

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, Thank you for accepting me just the way I am, but loving me too much to let me stay that way. I don’t want to stay the same, but to grow more and more into a reflection of your glory with each passing day. Change me, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Paul wrote several similar passages to the one in Ephesians above. Pick one of the following and read today.
Colossians 3:1-17
Galatians 5:16-26
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

What is one thing about your character or lifestyle that God has changed over the past year. Leave a comment below and share your answer.

Want More?  
If you would like to learn more about how to experience real and lasting change – change from the inside out, then you’ll want to read my book, Discover the beauty that comes only through a personal, ongoing, vibrant relationship with Jesus.

6 Responses to Whoever said, “Don’t Ever Change,” Didn’t Know You Very Well

  1. Amy June 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    What a powerful devotional! I can remember writing that very same thing in my friend’s yearbooks “don’t ever change!’ Praise God that by His mercy and grace, I have been changed by the power of His Holy Spirit and am thankful that He will continue to work in me to help me to become more Christ-like! Thank you so much for your encouraging messages! They are truly a blessing!

  2. Michelle June 6, 2012 at 2:11 am #

    I have been challenged to honor the authority of my home church regardless of what I think or feel about various situations and circumstances encountered. Studying Paul this year has revealed so much to me on this. Also learning not to hold my expectations onto others and to love unconditionally as a result. I am currently learning the awesome provision of God gives to his children in need.

  3. Joyce Kennell June 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Sharon

    God has truely change me in the last couple of months for this I give him THANKS

    I learn how to keep my self together when people are being so nasty to you talk to any kind of way now I just walk away and pray for them before I let the old woman come out

    thank you for this sharing this story it really is truely a blessing foe me today
    please keep me in your prayer i going thru a Health issue all I can do is wait until God give me the answer

    Joyce Kennell

  4. Shelley June 6, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    One thing that has changed in the past year is that I’ve been working hard and being responsible. I realize that it’s important and to be a good example to my son.

  5. JOAN June 21, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    ONE THING I HAVE CHANGED THIS YEAR IS I AM UNDER LAW, BUT UNDER THE AGE OF GRACE. I.

  6. Sandra Wilson July 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Sharon, this is such a powerful topic. Change can be a scary thing to so many. I have been married for 38 years. Many people ask, ” you’ve been married to the same man for 38 years”? I just smile and say, no there is nothing the same about this man! Is that not the truth about our lives? I thank God for my daily transformation. I thank Him for changing me to be the wife I am today for my sweetheart of 38 years. I pray for a continuation of an ever changing life to grow a deeper and more intimate relationship with my heavenly Father.

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