Sunday, January 23, 2011

Catalyst for Change

Catalyst for Change
Jan 24, 2011
2 Corinthians 4:16 "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day."

A "catalyst" is something that instigates or initiates change in a situation, almost immediately. A catalyst provokes an action that propels change at a faster rate. If iron is left out in a wet environment, it will eventually rust. However, if you add a significant amount of heat as a catalyst, iron will rust almost instantaneously. When a person contracts the bacteria that causes strep throat, if left untreated, it could turn into scarlet fever. The body may be able to fight off the infection, but it may take weeks, maybe months. If the right antibiotics are introduced as a catalyst, a person can now recover from scarlet fever possibly within a single week's time. Catalysts can work in both directions, negatively and positively. You've probably seen a catalyst interact in someone's life, like a motor vehicle accident. The motor vehicle accident can propel change in that person's life, altering it forever within just a moment's time.

In the Bible, Jesus served as a significant catalyst for change. He performed many miracles that instantly changed people's lives. He healed the sick; He delivered the demon possessed; He fed five thousand people; He spoke life and redemption into sinful situations; this list could go on. We read the Bible and are often envious of the cataclysmic events Jesus enabled in people's lives for the better. I've certainly thought about how a miracle from Jesus could change many situations in my own life. You've probably thought the same. It is a dangerous daydream, wishing and longing Jesus would perform a miracle for your situation. Sure, pray for a miracle and hope it will happen, but it is dangerous to pray for a cataclysmic miracle and then do nothing at all, simply waiting for it to happen. This kind of behavior might eventually have you sitting, doing nothing, for a lifetime here on earth. There is no guarantee your miracle will be granted by God. God is sovereign and will decide when and where to initiate a cataclysmic event in your life, if ever. The daydream becomes dangerous because you can become bitter while you're waiting, should things not change in your deteriorating situation. You can become disconnected from God and those around you if your miracle never happens and all you do is sit back and wait for God to jump at your commands.

This could be frustrating, not having a guarantee that God will deliver on your expectation of a miracle, the catalyst that could change your situations forever. There is nothing you can do to expedite or satisfy the need for a miracle. But there is something you SHOULD be doing, whether you are waiting for God to show up or not. You can change your heart. The very reason you might have the need for a miracle could be the condition of your heart. God may need or want it to be purified. God might have you in a holding pattern until you change your heart. Whether you are in a dire situation or simply waiting for God to change things, your heart condition can always improve. No matter who you are or your level of maturity, your heart condition can and should change. If you are longing for a catalyst to change your situation, first consider the need for a change in heart, your heart. If you can't change it on your own, then petition God for help. King David did; he knew his heart needed to be changed and was willing to let God do just that.

In reading Scripture, God seems more readily available to change people's hearts over giving them the miracle they thought they needed. Joseph didn't get out of his jail cell until his heart condition changed. The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years because the condition of their heart never changed. Job didn't receive his fortune back until his complaining heart had changed. This tells us God is more concerned with the condition of our hearts than our situations however uncomfortable they might seem. The very thing you might need a miracle for could be the very thing God is trying to use to change your heart. Wow, what perspective. Who would ever imagine that God is trying to use your life's situation right now to refine you and your heart? God is doing that right now in your life. Look for God to change your heart instead of your situation. The catalyst for change you are looking for could be a change in your heart.

1. Are you waiting for a miracle or allowing God to help you change your heart?
2. How could your situation change if your heart changed first?
3. How can you allow God the freedom to work on the condition of your heart during all the trials of your life?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: 1 Kings 8:47, 2 Chron 6:37, Ps 51:10 & 17, James 4:8, Col 3:10, Titus 3:5, Heb 10:22

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