Shift Happens…

I was in Wisconsin ministering at an incredible church a few months back. While there I was presented a sticker from a message one of the pastors preached.

 It said, “Shift Happens.” 

I laughed so hard. But every time I looked at the sticker, I felt like I was sinning. I couldn’t get my default thinking from a cultural phrase I’ve heard my whole life to move to the new word that I was reading. 

The more I thought on this the more I realized this is what happens when the Holy Spirit delivers us. We get free from a sin pattern that has held our thinking hostage. Patterns we have known our whole life, all of a sudden, are freed to think different. Blind spots are exposed and new abilities to walk free engulf us. Unfortunately, our old way of thinking keeps trying to come back in and take over our thoughts.

I often say deliverance is you getting out of Egypt. But discipleship is getting Egypt out of you. 

When “shift happens” our old ways don’t always cooperate.  We are finally free to walk like a new person but unless we renew our minds, intentionally practice the uncomfortableness of a new way of thinking, we will often, even though we have new freedoms, go back to old patterns of behaviors.    

Shifting is hard. Walking in a new way of life after years of consistent negative thinking, hopeless pursuits, rejected acceptance, shameful self-images, and tolerant defeat can feel almost impossible. 

This is why the Bible says we must…

“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:7-8

When “shift happens” we must go after old behavior patterns and expose them. Discipleship is getting the Egypt slave mentality out of you. It’s changing how you function, how you think, how you hope, how you survive, how you walk through your daily routine. 

In the wilderness the Israelites no longer had to do slave labor. They didn’t have to answer to cruel Egyptian masters. They weren’t being beaten down and made to feel less than. 

In the wilderness they had a gentle master. One who provided them food and water without labor. One who covered them by day and protected them by night. He did not demand or talk down to them. In fact, He called them to more, to walk as Image Bearers, to delight in what would bring them joy, to their identity as a chosen people, a royal priesthood.

He gave them His presence and wrote His promises over their hearts. He blessed their efforts and multiplied their provision. He called them into identity as sons and daughters of God. 

But in this new season of freedom, they continued to respond to God like He was just like their Egyptian slave masters. They complained, felt like they were being treated unfairly, they responded like victims in a land of provision, presence, and promise.

Their rejection and slave mentality owned them for 40 years and got them stuck in a cycle of old patterns they couldn’t graduate from. This lack of shifting cost them the promises God had waiting for them.

Truth is, “shift happens” to us all. Maybe it’s the changing of a season, the loss of a dream, or the disappointment of an unmet expectation. Maybe it feels unjust, or unfair. Like you’re taken buy force into a shift you didn’t choose, but despite your choice, shift is happening.

The children of Israel wanted free, but the cost of freedom, meant they had to choose to shift with God. Positionally, they moved. They literally ran for their lives. Some shifts come this way! We are literally moving to survive. However, positionally moving doesn’t guarantee we will receive the promise of what is better.

There was another story in scripture where “shift happened.” A boy named Joseph. A dreamer. A favorite of his father. An unlikely savior of a nation. Sold down the river by jealousy, forgotten by friends, and falsely accused, “shift kept happening.” Joseph had a lot of reasons, to be angry, lose hope, and even harbor unforgiveness. But when the “shift happened”, he shifted. He chose that even though it was unjust, hard, and unfair, he would not allow his circumstances to define his belief. He fixed his eyes on God and decided in the valley or in the palace, he would shift with the shift Maker! Because of this, Joseph, didn’t get stuck in the prison cell or the wilderness. Instead, he did something the Israelites didn’t do. He chose to shift his thinking and his ways to align with the truth he knew. God was faithful, even in his hardship. God was good, even in what didn’t feel good. God was trustworthy, even when others betrayed him. God was in control, even when it looked like satan was winning. God was bigger and stronger and well able to deliver him, even if it looked like He chose not to. Joseph shifted with God, not against God.

How about you? Has there been shifting in your life that has left you feeling defeated, confused, maybe unloved, or even abandoned? 

Let me encourage you “shift happens”. It will always happen. But how you and I respond to that shifting determines whether we get stuck in a wilderness of disobedience or a palace of promise. I pray that you will determine in your heart today, to shift with God and not against Him.  

Father, in Jesus Name, would you help me to release my grip of control on the shift happening in my life. Would you increase my faith to trust you with every circumstance, disappointment, and change. Would you help me to shift withyou and not against you. To realign my thinking and my emotions to Your Truth and not old behavior patterns. I trust you with my shifting. In Jesus Name, Amen!

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