Are you like me, and of the mindset that change must start from the top? Guess what…we are right (that never gets old!), and I can prove it. It’s actually Biblical!
In my recent study of the book of Exodus, I saw the biblical principle of top down transformation. I really liked the beginning when God instructs Moses, via a burning bush, to return to Egypt to rescue His people, then God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, there are some plagues, the Red Sea parts, the people of Israel wander around and build idols while Moses is meeting with God, we get the Ten Commandments, and the Tabernacle is constructed. Whewww… a lot happens in Exodus!
Exodus begins with the gloom of an enslaved nation of Israelites, and ends with the glory of a freed people, now following God’s presence in the wilderness. Do you know how the people knew when God was dwelling in the Tabernacle? A cloud came down and settled over it! (Exodus 40:34-38, Numbers 9:15-23) Some translations read that a pillar of smoke came down upon the Tabernacle. That word down is very important…it reveals that the event was driven by God. We all know smoke rises, so, if the cloud of smoke had started at the bottom and carried up, then people would probably have doubted that it was truly God. There would have been conspiracies that man created the smoke within the Tabernacle. But, praise be to God, the cloud/smoke came down!
That’s not the only time God came down to be with us. Remember when God came down to walk and talk with Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3? How about when God sent his most perfect Son Jesus down to be with us? Change was afoot, and it was coming from the top down! Jesus came down to teach us of God’s love for us and to be the perfect atonement for our sins. How’s this for change? When Jesus died on the cross, God tore the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple…wait for it…from the top down!!! (Mark 15:38) Now this was a heavy, 70 foot long curtain. Only God could have done that! It also occurred on Passover, so there were plenty of witnesses to attest to the fact that man had nothing to do with that curtain being torn. It was Jesus’ blood that created a change, His blood was shed to create a gateway for us to have a relationship with God. Now, because of Jesus, we can all enter into the presence of God, as our own representatives and not just on the Day of Atonement. (See Hebrews Chapter 9 and 10 for more info on this!)
Are you currently in need of some kind of change in your life? Start at the top!
“….The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with Him! Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you.” 2 Chronicles 15:2
“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:6
“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33
So how do we apply this to our everyday issues? Yep…start at the top! I can’t tell you how many times my co-blogger Jamie has told me “emotions follow choices!” I can’t tell her how many times (it was a lot!) I wanted to smack her for her always cheerful, sound advice…but, even though it took me a while, I must say she is right! Let me give you a personal example:
I recently had a thought one day that ‘there has to be more to life, there has be more that I am supposed to be doing.’ With this thought, I experienced an overwhelming feeling of emptiness and fear in my heart. I chose to believe a lie and I felt like a failure as a result. I realized, however, this was an attack by the enemy. He was attacking my contentment. He was causing me to focus on all that I don’t have or haven’t done, rather than all that I do have and have accomplished. I needed to change the way I was thinking and I knew I needed to start at the top! As soon as I realized this, I sought God. I asked Him to forgive me for my ungratefulness and to strengthen me in repenting and fighting future attacks like this from the enemy. I had to choose to focus my thoughts on being grateful to God. I had to choose to see my situations, my family, my home, everything I have and everything I am as a blessing from God. I had to choose to change, with help from the top (God), at the location of the top (mind/thoughts), to drive change at a lower level (heart/feelings/emotions). Guess what…so far, the change has stuck! The enemy has not tempted me with this again. BUT, that doesn’t mean he won’t…I will have to choose again and again to sustain the change from the top!
This can be applied to other issues as well…if you are struggling with pride, seek God and choose humility; if you are struggling to forgive, seek God and choose to remember you have been forgiven for far more; if you are struggling with fear, seek God and chose faith; etc. Emotions follow choices and you need the power from “up top” to guide and change your choices to align with His will.
Father, we seek you above all else. We ask that you help us change into the new creation you would have us to be by allowing our soul to receive your life giving change from the top down. Remind us of your loving presence in the midst of our storms, so that we will develop the endurance and perseverance to await your top down driven change in our lives. Through your Son we pray. Amen.