Call to Prayer
28 September 2021
The Consequences of Refusal to Change
In the last couple of weeks we have been focusing our prayers on changing against the Tide and a call to overcome the inertia to change. Today we continue to build on that as we focus on “The Consequences of Refusal to Change.” As Africa goes through different challenges, African leaders in Church and society, on the continent and in the Diaspora, have to respond to God’s call to be transformed and to be God’s agents for transformation. What are some of the consequences of refusal to change? A look at the message to the churches in Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 can give us some clues.
“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”
The Laodicean church was the last of the seven churches in Asia Minor to be addressed in the letters that our Lord Jesus Christ commissioned John to write when he (John) received God’s revealed truths on the Island of Patmos. Most of the letters had clear statements about serious consequences if the churches chose not to change. The church of Laodicea was one of those. As people who wanted to be politically correct, they were neither hot nor cold. They prided themselves in the values of the communities in which they lived. So, using those yardsticks they felt they were okay – they were rich and wealthy and did not need anything. They felt they did not need to change. But the Lord of the church saw them as wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. They needed to change. Refusal to change is a choice to remain in a state of brokenness, while God is offering a better state of life and renewal that will impact us and the communities in which we live. This itself is a consequence.
Africans face many challenges. Our worship which is often divorced from commitment to service to God and standing for justice and righteousness, our systems of governance, our stewardship of our economies, and the rampant ineptitude and corruption all call for change. Even the Church in some areas has yielded to corrupt practices. We need to change. But many will say, “It is safer to be where we are and not change.” So, we live with the evil around us, afraid to change and be used as God’s instruments for change.
The message to the Laodicean church was, if they refuse to change, they will literally be spat out of the mouth of the LORD of the Church. They were counselled to repent and embrace God’s change; otherwise they would not belong to the fold anymore. This echoes the message to the first church addressed, the church of Ephesus. They were told, “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” The lampstand symbolized the essence of the church. Lack of repentance and refusal to change when God calls on us to change, has serious consequences. We can find ourselves outside God’s plans.
So, we who are God’s children in this 21st century need to heed God’s call, repent of our tendency to resist change, and respond to God’s call to be transformed and to be His agents of transformation.
- Lord our God we come to you confessing that we have often resisted the change You have ordained for us and our communities. We ask for Your forgiveness.
- Cause us to yield to the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we may resist the temptation to resist change.
- Transform us and make us willing to embrace Your actions of transforming us and our communities in all areas – spiritually, socially, politically, and economically.