BE FLEXIBLE

WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL

APRIL 10, 2024

TOPIC: BE FLEXIBLE  

BY T. O. BANSO

Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet” (Acts 8:26-28 New King James Version).

Change is inevitable and often unpredictable. Sometimes the old must give way to the new for someone to experience advancement, promotion, or a better life, or fulfil his destiny. Those who are too rigid will limit God in their lives. God cannot do much in the life of those who are not ready to change even when it is clear that God wants them to change, whether they are doing something wrong or right. Some people are so used to a season of their lives that when God wants them to go and start doing another thing, they remain adamant; they refuse to adapt to the change God wants. They don’t follow His new instructions or new leading.

In the book of Ruth, Naomi was flexible. A flexible person is someone who is able to change easily and adapt to different conditions and circumstances as they occur (Collins English Dictionary). Naomi had lost her husband and children in the land of Moab. When she heard that God had visited Bethlehem and the famine that made her family migrate to Moab had ended, she decided to return. Naomi could have chosen not to return to Bethlehem because of the shame that she went to Moab full and returned empty, as she later said. She could have remained in Moab because of what her relations and friends in Bethlehem would say. She could have refused to return to Bethlehem because of the fear that some people would mock her. These are some reasons that have kept some people from returning to their Bethlehem.

Nobody knows if Naomi would have been the next person in the family to die in Moab after the death of her husband and two sons, but Naomi was ready to change. “Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread” (Ruth 1:6 New King James Version). Naomi not only decided to return, she returned. “So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. Now they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest” (Ruth 1:22 New King James Version).

Be flexible. Don’t be too rigid when God wants you to change – leave a place, go and do something else, go back to where you have left, etc. Don’t let what people would say make you disobey the leading of God. It is your life, not their life. If you discover you are wrong, don’t be ashamed or afraid to retrace your steps and do the right thing. You cannot continue in error just because of the fear of what people will say. Respond to change. Let people talk. They will only talk or mock you for some time but will soon find something new to talk about!

The prodigal son returned and things changed for him. He would have died of hunger in a foreign land when there was abundance waiting for him in his father’s house. But he came to his senses and returned home and his father received him well and threw a party for him. He never imagined his father would receive him warmly (Luke 15:17-24).

You must know when the Spirit of God is saying “change.” In Samaria, the Spirit of the Lord said to Philip to change, not because he was doing what was bad but because God was going to do a new thing. Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, ‘Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet” (Acts 8:26-28 New King James Version).

While Philip was having an impactful ministry in Samaria, God called him and sent him to the desert road that ran from Jerusalem to Gaza; he obeyed. That was how the Ethiopian eunuch, who was returning from worship in Jerusalem, was saved and took the gospel to his country. He wasn’t saved in Jerusalem where the apostles were but on the desert road through Philip who was formerly one of the seven deacons but became an evangelist in Samaria.

Even when what you are doing is good or successful, God can still ask you to drop it for a new assignment. If we do not change when God is saying “change”, we deny ourselves the enjoyment of the new things God wants to do, and even the old which we are holding on to tenaciously or guarding jealously may slip away from our hands.

In Acts 10, God wanted Peter to change but he initially objected because God’s command was contrary to what the Jews had been taught according to the Jewish laws: not to touch or eat unclean animals. Acts 10:9-16 says, The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.  Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again” (New King James Version). The ‘unclean animals’ in the vision Peter had were the Gentiles whom God wanted to send him to with the gospel.

Peter saw the vision three times during which God corrected him not to call common or unclean what He had made clean. While he was thinking about the meaning of the vision, Cornelius’s messengers came. God told Peter some men were looking for him and he should go with them without any hesitation because He sent them. When Cornelius’ messengers told him their mission, Peter understood the meaning of his vision. Peter was flexible and went with the three men Cornelius sent to invite him to his house.

In the house of Cornelius, God surprised Peter. While Peter was still speaking, God did a new thing by making the Holy Spirit fall on Cornelius and his household – all those who heard the word! They were born again without anyone praying with them! Peter had no option but to command that they should be baptized in water (Acts 10:44-48).

If you are too rigid God cannot use you or bless you much. Paul was flexible in the hand of God. He adapted to change. Hear what he said: For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22 New King James Version). Paul was flexible, not rigid.

This is the mindset God wants you to have if you are going to be effective in reaching your world with the gospel of salvation and bringing the world to the Lord. Don’t let tradition, church doctrines, racial prejudice, tribalism, ethnicity, etc. make you too rigid and not respond to the change that is from God. Whoever refuses to respond to divine change will become irrelevant and ineffective.

Be flexible. The change may be a new assignment or dimension. It could be a new method God wants you to adopt. It could be a programme or project God wants you to suspend or cancel. Be sensitive to what God is telling you or wants you to do. Don’t let your ego edge God out of your life.

Respond to the change God has initiated. Don’t refuse just because it will take you out of your comfort zone or some people may laugh at you. Don’t resist divine change. Cooperate with it. Don’t be afraid. Trust in God. Depend on the Holy Spirit; He is your helper (John 14:16, 26). You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Endure the hardship the new change may bring. Make the necessary sacrifice. Make the necessary changes you know God wants you to make. All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

TAKE ACTION!

If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and cannot save yourself, and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.

Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself.  I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.

I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.

PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me to be flexible and not be too rigid. Help me to change when it is necessary and adapt to the change that God has initiated. I will not resist divine change but cooperate with it.

(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).

T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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