Transitions

Jenny ThompsonPosted on Monday, March 4, 2013 by Jenny Thompson

As we think about the word, ‘transitions’, we are reminded that transition is happening all around us. From the four seasons of the year, to Government and of course, the various transitional stages of our lives. It is not surprising then that the Bible is full of individuals, leaders and nations going through transition. There are invaluable lessons we can learn from the scriptures. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

In Joshua 1, a young leader is about to take leadership from an old experienced leader. Joshua is feeling inadequate, incapable and ill-equipped. Because this transition initiated from the heart of God, and so it was not Joshua’s own idea, the Lord reassured Joshua that He would be with him.

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5-7)

One of the hardest transitions anyone can make is to move from one’s country, to live in a foreign land. This is exactly what Abraham (who was called Abram before God renamed him) did. Once again this transition was God ordained! The LORD had said to Abram,

“Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

God sent assurance and His promises to Abraham;

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3)

Abraham did not resist this transition, even though he was 75 years of age at the time! I often wonder what his wife had to say about it though! However one mistake Abraham did make was to take Lot with him. Lot was not part of Abraham’s transition and basically Lot became a pain in the neck!

Transition is a time of letting go of some baggage, things (and sometimes even people) in order for us to reach out and embrace the future that God has for us.

  1. We need to adjust and to surrender. When the Israelites fled from Egypt, they were ready for adjustment but sadly not for surrender! Once they had passed through the Red Sea and arrived at the other side, they began to complain! If they had surrendered and walked in obedience they would have prevented themselves from wandering in the desert for so long! It is easier to adjust than to surrender, because adjusting still leaves us with some authority over our lives, whereas surrender does not. The Lord asks total surrender from us.
  2. We need to release the past in order to embrace the future. You see to go back was always an option for the Israelites. They could have said to Moses ‘stuff you’, we are going back!’ If they had gone back they would never have entered into the freedom and blessing that God had for them.

    One of the keys to successful transition is the willingness to leave the past behind! Many of us want to reach forward with one hand and hold on to the past with the other! Is there anything that we are holding on to that is preventing us from entering into the new season that God has got for us?

    Holding onto the past whilst grasping the future simply tears us in two, or leaves us immobile! The Apostle Paul says,

    “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

  3. We need to look for God moving in a new way. Once we have chosen to adjust, surrender and to let go of the past, we are then ready to embrace the new. Look for the signs, God will not prompt us to move without also giving us some signs. The Israelites followed the cloud by day and the fire by night. The Apostle Paul was led by the promptings of the Spirit, and Jesus only did those things that He saw the Father doing.
  4. We need to take a step of faith.

    “Faith is being sure of what you hope for, and certain of what you do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)

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