This past weekend my husband and I assisted in a move, the second one within a little over a month. The first move was for our youngest daughter as she relocated for a new job. This latest move was for our son and daughter-in-law as they, too, settle into a new area and new jobs. These moves, of course, were not our first moves and likely won’t be our last. As most people can agree, work relocations, family situations, the need for more room or the need to scale back, as well as a host of many other reasons contribute to our continuing need to keep on moving.
On the other hand, my husband and I have moved ourselves only twice since we were married. Within our first couple of years of
marriage we moved from our first apartment to a rented trailer and then to the house where we live now – all in the same town and near areas where we both grew up. But while we may not have changed locations, we seem to have constantly moved right where we were. We built two additions – at different times – which essentially replaced the house we bought. Through the years we’ve changed and re-decorated rooms, painted walls, ripped up carpet, put down new flooring, not to mention all the necessary repairs that are a necessary part of home ownership. As much as I love my home, however, and in spite of all the memories we’ve made here, there have been those times when I’ve thought – “Wouldn’t it be better to just move than to get in all the mess that we sometimes do as we try to improve and make things better?”
But as we have worked on-site to improve and as we’ve helped our children through a variety of different moves, I have learned that moving of any kind is not usually easy. Moving requires changes and adjustments. It often requires patience and a long-suffering, tolerant attitude. And above all it demands a leader (or as our kids called my husband – the little commander) and the willingness of all involved to follow that leader and to work together. Sometimes it can get a little messy, but the end result is usually worth every bit of the effort.
As I thought about this it occurred to me that the same is true for not only physical moves, but for moves in our spiritual lives as well. Taking that first tentative step to accept Jesus as Savior and to follow Him is just the beginning. As we surrender to Jesus, He begins His work in us. He works to move out those feelings and attitudes of the flesh with which we’ve become accustomed and comfortable, and to replace them with the fruits of the Spirit. He helps us move out hate and replace it with love. He convicts us of jealousy and envy and helps us to be content and to forgive and be kind to others. Instead of wrath and contention, there is self-control, gentleness, and peace. As Jesus works in us, He helps us to think less of ourselves and more of others. Little by little, as we yield to Him, and heed His Spirit within us, we allow Him to move out all of our old desires and replace them with the works of His Spirit. It’s not always easy and it, too, can get messy sometimes as we battle our fleshly desires. But as we follow Christ and allow His Spirit to lead and guide us, He can make it happen. The apostle Paul states it well:
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.:
“ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Our physical moves can be difficult when we fail to embrace the changes and make necessary adjustments; when we become impatient with one another, disagree and argue; and when we fail to listen to and follow the designated leader. In much the same way, we can hinder God’s work in our lives when we resist the Spirit’s work trying to change us, when we cling to our fleshly attitudes and desires, and when we fail to follow the Spirit’s lead as He works in us to move out the old and move in the new. But what a difference He can make in our lives when we yield to Him and allow Him to move us and change us.
I know that we’ll probably face other moves in our future. I know for sure that God is continually doing His moving work in my spiritual life. I’m thankful that He is ever loving and patient with me, and especially thankful that He is not willing to leave me some place where I may have grown comfortable, but where I shouldn’t be. I want to keep my eyes on Him and be ready to move as He leads me. May we all keep on moving!
“For in Him, we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28a).