When people in business think of the words Consistency AND Change, they often think of the often quoted - “The only thing consistent is change.” Two words, that are polar opposites, finding some sense of relation to one another in the context of a given quote.
When managers are delivering a performance review, and the need to suggest change in an individual's behavior or performance is being addressed, the imperative for Consistency IN Change is paramount. A flicker of change in the eyes of a manager means very little unless delivered consistently day after day, quarter after quarter. While changes does not occur overnight, it is monitored, recorded, and addressed to ensure that forward progress is being made. It is after all – a change, right?
Now let's be real for a minute. We as men are tremendous creatures of habit. I would say even more so than woman (while my wife would not agree I must add). We tend to be extremely passionate about what we believe in all the time. We thrive off the need to feel as if we are a significant contributor to our families, our jobs, and in most, if not ALL aspects of our lives. Most of us are a fan of a given sports team year after year – regardless of the season's outcome. Our tastes in what we crave and like to eat at 11pm when we are not even hungry hasn't changed in years. We could even make our coffee in the dark, having put the same amount of sugar and cream in it (even that extra spoonful when no one is looking) for years. There is an exhaustive list of areas within each of our lives that already has consistency baked into them.
Well, what about our walk with the Lord as Christian men? I contend that consistency IN the change in our lives is paramount and often overlooked. Have we baked consistency into our walk, and how does this happen? As a man who has been a “Christian” for almost his entire life, I can honestly say that a change in your life that reflects a true devotion and desire to follow Christ is:
(A.) An aspect of your life that you will struggle with every day
(B.) Something that you will not be able to just “wing” and assume it will happen by itself
(C.) Not something that you will face alone (Thankfully!)
There is no doubt that for the man who has just committed his life to Christ, the first two statements must be overwhelming – but only when you do not take into consideration the third statement. Not facing this alone is what makes this possible in the first place. It is the first two statements however, that make a consistency in your commitment to change so vital.
Men – we are in a daily battle. A battle between the way we naturally are, and the way that we really would like to be. When we make the decision to follow Christ, we in our Gap Analysis look at the way we act, think, and live now, and they way we want to be moving forward. The Apostle Paul speaks to this very battle that he struggled with. “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15-16 ESV) What he wanted to do, he didn't or couldn't do! Can you relate to this? I would bet that most of you can relate to this. This happens because of the sin nature of our heart. We are naturally inclined to Sin. There is nothing natural about following God. NOTHING. Natural comes easy – like the child prodigy that can compose music at age 5. Following Christ comes out of the daily decision to pick up your cross, and live you life as a Christian each and every day. This is something that you have to sincerely desire to do.
The “Un-Natural” nature of a Christian walk lead us to our second statement – You can't “wing it.” The Bible reminds us of this when it says to “...Train yourselves for godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7 ESV) Train like you would for a race. Train like you would for a wrestling match. Train yourself like you really wanted to be the starting quarterback. Train. Train. Train. This means doing what is unnatural – Not sitting idle in front of the TV every night before bed, but getting into God's Word and seeing how it relates to your life. Not listening to the news during your am commute, but instead talking to God, and listening for his direction (not Garmin's) . Now for me to be real again..... I'm not saying that you can't watch TV. I am not saying that you can't listen to the news. I happen to be a news junkie myself. What I am saying is to make some gradual changes to your routine in order to begin training yourself for a change! The more you adjst your daily life to build in the consistency of devotion time with God, the easier it will be – the more natural it will seem.
The greatest part of this is that you do not have to do this alone.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. “ (Isaiah 43:2 ESV)
”...Call to me and I will answer you.” (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)
God is right there with you everyday. Sustaining you, empowering you, and waiting for you to reach out to HIM for the strength. You are not alone in your struggle, and you will not do it in your own strength! Trust me – been there, done that. It does not work. That is my way of saying that there are other men that are in this battle with you. Find some Christian men to gather counsel from and to share your struggles with. Odds are, they are experiencing the same exact struggles. You do ask for advice before implementing your brilliant strategy, right? “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV). Find one or two men whom you trust to share your thoughts with and hold each other accountable. Be open, honest, and see where God will take it from there!
Men – Take this to heart and allow the Lord to develop you into the Christian man he desires you to be. Remember that right around the corner is your past mindset (your old habits as well), your future struggles, and your next misstep. But what also is right next to you is a consistent God who has your back if you so desire to stand beside him.
I suspect that your observations about men are generally true (although not everyone commutes to work, or works in a corporate or business setting.) I';ve always found the "same" to be enormously boring. I drive as many different routes as I can, to get to the same destination, I've always liked to try new foods, listen to new music, explore literature I'm unfamiliar with and carry on conversations with a wide vidersity of people. (This evening, while my wife, daughter and I were eating at a riverside hamburger shack, I had a long conversation with a man whose arms were covered with tatoos, who came in wearing a black, sleeveless t-shirt with a Harley Davidson vest over it. We talked for a long time about motorcycles (something I don't know much about.) His life is very different than mine, but no less interesting. And, I was able to sneak in an observation at one point that he was blessed.
To me, life is a process of becoming. Change is not a four letter word. That said, I have a friend who considers all change for the worse. He was upset that a mutual friend had become much more stable and considerate. It upset his concept of who the person was.
If we accept Christ as the one who sets our path in life, it will be full of surprises and we'll end up going in directions we could never have imagined.