When is the time to make the change you know you need to make?
That is, if you have identified a problem, understand the solution, and have the ability to implement the solution – when should you go about setting things right?
While, one suspects, most people logically know the right answer, in practice, the most common answer is probably, “Tomorrow.”
Let us use for an example, the subject of physical fitness and diet. If a person knows they have a lousy diet and are out of shape, and they know they would like to get in shape and eat right – when is the best time to start that new diet and begin an exercise regime. Not a lot of people, in practice, say, “Right now!” Instead, most of us tend to think that we will begin making the changes tomorrow. We might know that a good run or walk or some weight lifting is in order – but other concerns, or sometimes sheer laziness, causes us to put it off till another day. The end result is that quite often we never actually start that good habit we know we should develop.
Or, an example of a different nature – an interpersonal problem of some sort: a quarrel between two people for instance. Each party knows the quarrel is foolish. Each party knows that they should apologize for their behavior and mend fences. But instead of picking up the phone, or going to see the other, the reconciliation is put off for another hour. If the relationship is later mended; days, months or even years of wasted time might have passed by which could have been spent in greater joy rather than bitterness.
If you know that something ought to be done, and you have the ability to do it – the right time to act is today, rather than tomorrow.
Consider what Jesus said in this regard concerning the relationship between a man and his brother: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24; NKJV)
Jesus was pretty clear. If you have a problem with a person, the right time to take care of the problem was right then and there; not some ambiguous future date that might never come.
If this is true of the relationships between men, it is even more true of our relationship with God. If we know that we have a problem in our relationship with God, and we know what the solution to that problem is, and it is within our ability to affect that solution,… the time to take care of the problem is right now.
The Bible urges us, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Psalm 95:7b-8a) Elsewhere, in agreeing with this sentiment, we are also told, “Exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13; NKJV) And again elsewhere, “For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2; NKJV)
There is a certain emphasis on the immediacy of our need to be saved and reconciled to God. There is an immediate need for us to be in a righteous, obedient relationship with God. It is not a thing to be put off. If we know to do it; the best time is now
God wants a good relationship with us. He desires it so strongly, He sent His Son to die for our sins. When we know what God has done, we should also know God is calling for a response on our part, and the right time to respond is today.
We note, in Acts 2, when Peter preached the Gospel, he exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” (Acts 2:40) We then read that “those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” (Acts 2:41)
“That day” they were saved because “that day” was the day they obeyed.
Don’t put off doing the right thing till tomorrow, when you know to do it today.
If you know your life needs changes, or you want to learn more about what God teaches you to do to make those changes, the church of Christ invites you to study and worship with us at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis, Ohio. Likewise, if you have any questions, please share them with us through our website chapelhillchurchofchrist.org.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.