CHANGE AND RISE
(Message by Dr. D K Olukoya)
When you change, you rise. Jeremiah 48:11: “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”
God has designed this message for some specific people. Here, we see that Moab had problems.
- He was used to a life of ease.
- He was settled on his lees.
- He was not emptied from vessel to vessel.
- He had not really tasted what is called captivity
- and because of that, his taste remained unaltered, and his flavour was not changed.
The long and short of the matter concerning Moab was that he refused to change and because of that, he stank. Anybody who would like to work with Jesus must be prepared to change. Somebody who was a drunk suddenly gives his life to the Lord, and he becomes a new person. He has changed and when you say, “Sir, were you not the one drinking in that place?” He would say, “That was before, I have now changed:”. Change is actually the very essence of life itself and when a person resists change, the person is working against life. There are some changes that one may be required to make which he or she is not even ready to embrace. A lot of people would rather stick to their familiar past. A lot of people are afraid of going into unravelled territories or taking any risk. Many stubbornly cling to their ideas and habits.
The Lord does not allow that. The nature of God’s work includes changing, you must sincerely change. Read your Bible very well and you will find out that men and women in the Scriptures who moved mountain for the Lord, travelled in unknown territories. Moses did not see a previous example anywhere but he did something and the Red Sea parted. He took a holy risk and God backed him up. So, you have to make a decision now to make a change.
Some friends may have to go, some ideas might have to be dropped and some habits might have to be changed if you want the fullness of God in your life. You must make that decision to change. You must examine all your old habits and practices. You must examine all your old friends, and challenge all those traditions you have been following which have yielded nothing. In spite of the fact that God is even trying to bring some people out of these traditions, their heart, and spirits are still there, and so Jesus is still looking at them, asking “Can I really use this one?” So, you must challenge these things you have been doing. Many of us are moving behind schedule. Some are meant to have helped thousands of people but they are still busy picking marbles in the street. Sometime ago, a couple came to see me because they were fighting. I asked: “What was the matter?” and the husband said, “Dr., tell this woman to be submissive,” and I said, “Madam, why are you not submissive?” And she said, “Excuse me man of God, this submission, what is the meaning?” I counselled them and after sometime, I said, “Let us pray.” When I prayed, I was amazed at the revelation I got. I saw the couple standing on top of a very tall building and there was a long queue of people in their front, and they were distributing money to these people. These people were very grateful and were thanking God for their lives. But as they were distributing the money, I saw some naked women at their back firing arrows at them, so I said, “You people are busy fighting instead of doing what God wants you to do.” A change is necessary.
You must question those customs that have not gotten you any where. Somebody told me he had been going to church for forty years and when I asked him if he has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, he said, “How much do they sell it?” So, I gave him a lecture and after the lecture, he gave me a sum of two thousand naira. I thanked him and used the money to buy some books that would help him for him before he left.
This is a new week and we must change for the best. Remember, a seed does not take root unless it falls to the ground and dies there. It will then change to something else and begin to grow. The seed would first of all look ugly, and you wonder why life is so unkind to it as to break it in the middle. But the truth is that it has to change before it brings out something.
The stars that you see in the sky do not shine too much until it is very dark. So, anybody who is saying, “I am always what I was,” the person is to be pitied. I mean the person is not ready for progress and a person who never changes is a fool. It is stagnant water that breeds mosquitoes. The law of change is so powerful that you must comply with it. Sometimes, the problem with those who refuse to change is that they love themselves more than the truth. So if you love yourself more than the truth, deceive yourself for a while, then things will start to happen.
Some brethren and I ministered to a sister who had a lot of problems. She read medicine but it was as if she did not go to school. She was married with four children. Her husband woke up one morning and said, “I don’t know why, but I hate you and I am leaving.” The woman thought it was a joke, but the man packed his things and left. I asked her if she was a Christian and she said yes and described her church to me. The first day she attended our service, I saw her and asked, “How was the service today?” She said, “Strange.” I asked her what was strange about it and she said, “In the church I used to attend, we danced for 4 hours, from 9 am – 1 pm. Sometimes when you get home, your waist would be paining you because of dancing.” Anyway, she kept coming. I asked her to go for deliverance and she did. I saw her again and asked her how she was getting on, and she said, “Fine but tough.” “What is tough?” I asked her; she said, “You see, I had to remove my attachment, and I have discarded my jewellery. I am looking ugly now”. So it was hard for her to change, but when she began to follow the necessary directions, things began to happen. The first miracle she received was that the British Nationality that had been denied her in the past was given to her after three weeks of her coming. She was pleasantly surprised. Immediately her husband heard that she got the British Nationality, he came back and said, “Well, I just said I should come and congratulate you.” Then she said, “Go now.” He said, “No. I am staying here.” That was how her marriage was restored.
So when you change, things happen. We do a lot of spiritual warfare here. Eventually everybody will get involved. There is no other way because the dark forces surrounding us are so many and they are fighting the battle of their lives.
When you talk about spiritual warfare, it involves the following:
- Dealing with the devil and his cohorts
- Taking control of your mind. You decide that certain things will not stay in your mind again. You establish a solid immigration control at the door of your mind to discard any entity that you know is not welcome.
- You have to crucify your flesh.
It is in this last area that many people fail. The big truth is that satanic attacks cannot prosper in our lives if our flesh refuses to cooperate with the devil. Colossians 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth…” Paul says, “I die daily.” If you are living a life that is dead to sin, as we are commanded by the Scriptures, all the demonic suggestions and the fleshly temptations will not have a hold on you because you are already dead to the temptations, and the suggestion of the devil.
- Dead men do not respond to temptation.
- Dead men do not know whether somebody is winking at them or not.
- Dead men do not even know whether somebody is criticizing or abusing them.
- Dead men do not commit fornication.
- Dead men do not abuse people.
But when a person is not broken, any small criticism will upset him to the point of crying. Many of us go for deliverance. It is good, but the greatest deliverance is to crucify the flesh. Once the flesh is dead, no demon will be able to stay there. When you live that kind of crucified life, the devil would find you a dangerous person. A man may scream and shout at the devil at the top of his voice saying, “You devil, you are under my feet,” etc, but after the screaming, he misbehaves as a result of unbrokenness in any area of his life, the devil would still attack him because he still has a door through which he can come in to such a life.
After some people would have shouted, prayed and done all kinds of activities in the church, the devil would say to his demons, “Don’t worry, we will follow him home.” Then immediately the person gets home he finds that his child has poured oil on the clothes he washed before going to church. He now says, “Who is the bastard that did this thing?” The devil would turn to his agents and say, “I told you” and they will move in quietly. This is the problem. A lot of people who go in for deliverance do not need it. All they need is to crucify the flesh, be completely broken and take every word of God they hear as a very serious matter. Sometime ago, I spoke to some people on “How to make yourself perfectly miserable or how to convert yourself into a very sad person.” What does that mean? One way a person can convert himself into a very sad person is to get provoked by any insult passed to him and then begins to fight with everybody. That is unbrokenness. So all the prayers against the devil are to no avail. The devil knows that when you get home, he can get you easily, but when you crucify the flesh, you will enter into a new realm of life. Your life cannot be a candidate of satanic devourers again. It is such people who know the secret of the Lord. The secret of the Lord is with those who are broken and living crucified lives.
A person could dress to ‘kill’, but there is nothing in that dress. If the devil knows that all you are out for is to seduce through dressing, then he has got you. But once you live a crucified life, you would be immune to satanic arrows. You would become a terror to demonic forces and when the Lord decides to call you home, demons would be rejoicing that a troublesome person has been removed from here. The removal of some people does not affect the devil at all.
When you are broken, the anointing of the Holy Spirit becomes powerful upon your life; you would be dead to worldly opinions and would offer no protection to your enemies. But if you are not broken and you are not living a crucified life, you offer the enemy a lot of assistance. Christians are supposed to mount up with wings as eagles. Anything that wants to convert an eagle to a hen must be pointed out so that you can deal with it.
One of the reasons God does a lot of things to people who come to our meetings is because when they come here, their lives undergo a revision. Sometimes all that some people require is just a little change in their prayer life and that is all. What happens to many people when they come here is that their prayer life changes. They are encouraged to pray and they learn how to pray straight forward and well-directed aggressive prayers which are different from the dead prayers they were used to. They can also fast now and serve God better. These are changes that have helped them to make some progress both physically and spiritually.
Sometimes, what we call a problem is actually a trumpet call by the Almighty for a change. Sometimes what we call a problem is a help not a hindrance; sometimes, it is a blessing not a burden to develop you and not to destroy you. Sometimes it is to cleanse you and not to corrupt you. Sometimes it is to train you, not to torture you; to mould you not to break you. Sometimes, problems arise as a result of our ignorance, laziness or unseriousness in the things of God. God may talk to a person through dreams but the person may forget these dreams.
A person may find himself naked in a dream and may not understand it. When God speaks to you through a dream and you do not understand, He may give you that same message through a vision. And if you still fail to understand, He may speak to you through prophecy. If that fails, He could speak to you through an audible voice, through messages, or through prevailing situations surrounding you and if you still refuse to understand, then God will now have to create something that will cause you to change. This is what some of us call problem. When you go through deliverance and pray, “I bind you, release me, this, that, stop holding my leg, this, that, stop harassing me, you pray fire prayer, do fire fasting, and the situation remains the same, perhaps you should change because sometimes, God Himself can resist us.
God sometimes could block the way like He did to Adam. He pulled him out of the garden, put an angel there with the sword of fire and said, “Don’t allow them to enter this place.” God could do what He did to Balaam. The angel of God slapped the horse, and hindered Balaam. God could do what He did to Jonah. The problem of Jonah would not have been solved by any deliverance minister because it was God that he had problem with. God wanted Jonah to change but he did not want to change. Then God said, “Ok, I know what to do to you.” He threw him into the sea and a big fish swallowed him. He did three days dry fasting inside the belly of the fish. By the time God finished with Jonah and the fish vomited him in the place he did not want to go, he preached with fire. When he got there, everybody repented to the disappointment of even Jonah himself.
So when a person begins to say, “Hindrance clear out of my way, clear out of my way,” and the hindrance says, “By whose authority should I clear out?” and the person says, “By the authority of the Almighty God.” What if it is the Almighty God hindering you? This is the problem. Failure sometimes can befall an expert like the fisherman Peter. God engineers something to make a person change. The instruction to the Apostles was as it is written in Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” But they refused to change and sat in Jerusalem and God needed to make them change so He created something. What happened? He allowed James to be arrested and killed. The fact that James could be killed like that shook them, and those who were not praying before began to pray, those who were not serious with night vigil, began to attend. Before they could say, “Jesus is Lord,” Peter was grabbed, because after James was killed, they still sat in the same place. So, the Lord allowed them to take him and allowed him to be roughened a little bit before the angel released him from the prison. Peter then discovered that Jerusalem was no longer a place of blessing and he moved out. He said, “Brethren, I am going away.” And as he went, the power of God just followed him anywhere he went. God had to use the purifying power of persecution to change them. God’s purification came in the form of persecution. You know who the genuine Christians are when persecution comes.
A sinner wearing a suit is the same as a sinner wearing rags. A frightened sinner is still a sinner, an academic sinner is still a sinner. A clever sinner is still a sinner. One man said, “If you educate a sinner, you make him a clever devil.” But when God’s purification power touches him, it brings about a change. God’s ultimate aim for our lives is to make all of us conform to the image of God and align to His destiny for our lives.
God does not operate like worldly tailors who alter dresses to suit you. If you say, “Tailor, this pair of trousers is too long.” He would say, “No problem I will cut it short.” Or if you say, “This dress is too big,” he would say, “No problem, I will reduce it.” God is not like that. Our garment is Christ, we have to put Him on as He is. He never changes. It is you who have to change to be like Him. If you are fatter than that garment, you have to be slimmed down. If you are too slim to fit in, the Holy Ghost will plump you, but all the same, you have to change. When you respond to the will of God for your life, a change is involved. At this juncture, I think you should take the following prayer point:
“Oh Lord, show me areas of my life requiring changes, in Jesus’ name.
People hate changes, yet it is the only thing that can bring growth. People hate those who rock the boat of their hearts but they say that a smooth sea does not produce a good captain. When the sea is rough and the man has been trained on rough seas, he becomes a good captain. If you are a pilot and every time you fly, the sky is always smooth, you can never be a good pilot because the day you experience serious turbulence, you won’t know what to do.
When I was in the university, I was involved in one activity or the other almost everyday in my church. After sometime, I felt it was too much so I stopped going and started reading only my books. I was not going anywhere again and there was no problem until one day to the examination, something happened. I had a very serious headache. It was as if somebody was ringing a bell inside my brain. It was as if the head was going to be cut off. A brother came to greet me and met me rolling on the floor. He started praying, “In the name of Jesus, every spirit of headache, I reject you.” The more he prayed, the more the bell rang. So I said, “Brother, I know what I have done. It is okay. Don’t pray that prayer again.” God wanted me to change but I did not want to do so. Then, He created something to change me. Since then I recognised that as a believer, I have to work hard, very hard and at the same time know that the battle is not smooth but with persistence, I will win. You still have to rely on the Almighty.
We also know that lifeless things that do not change grow out of style. So, you and I that are not lifeless must change. Those who refuse to cooperate with the change required by God, will suffer the consequence; but those who cooperate will mount up as eagles. When you refuse to accept your present position as God’s final for you, you will create a future for yourself. When you accept God’s changes for your life, miracles begin to happen. If you are defending your faults and pampering your errors, it means you have no intention of changing and God will say, “I cannot use this one, I will look for somebody else.”
Everybody wants progress but many people do not want to change. Look at Joseph, his father sent him on an errand to check his brothers and he went. If he had not gone on that errand, may be his brothers would not have captured him and sold him. And if they did not sell him into slavery, he would never have met Portipah’s wife, and if he had agreed to sleep with her, he would never have landed in the prison. He would never have met the baker and the steward, and would never have received invitation to go and interpret dreams. Everything started with a man who just obeyed the father, and things began to happen in his life.
WHAT ARE THE PURPOSES OF CHANGES IN OUR LIVES?
- Divine advancement. When God wants to advance you or promote you, a change is required from your normal pattern of things.
- Divine enlargement.
- Divine increment. When the Lord wants to increase you, you require a change.
- Divine improvement. When God wants to empower you, a change is required. It is that power that will make room for you wherever you go.
- When God wants to give you a new direction, a change is required.
- Divine re-assignment. When God wants to re-assign you a change is required.
If you now refuse to change, you will stink like Moab. But the more broken you are, the more God is able to change you. That change may involve change of people, change of habit and change of spiritual temperature. This is what God is calling for now to be able to make us mount up with wings as eagles.
So, if as you are reading this message, you notice dissatisfaction in your spirit about your situation, God is requiring a change. The first group of people God is calling for a change in their lives are those who are divinely dissatisfied with their position.
I was praying with a sister for the restoration of her marriage which had broken down for 24 years. As we started praying, her husband phoned from America and said they should forget the past. The sister then said, “After 24 years.” The man said, “It seems as if you have lost hope on me. I made a mistake and I want you to forgive me. She said, “Forgive what, over the phone?” And the man hung the phone. And she came back to me and said, “I need another prayer point.” “For what now?” I asked. I said, “God gave you a wonderful opportunity but because of your unbrokenness, you messed it up and now you want fresh prayer points for him to repeat the call.” She said, “I felt so bad when he dropped the phone, I wish I said something else.” Unbrokenness.
If you are having a feeling of being resisted, for example, you want to move ahead and it is as if something somewhere is pulling you back, a change is required and I believe that you will make that change today, in Jesus’ name.
Sometimes what the Lord requires some people to do is so small but they would not want to do it and this will result into all kinds of things. Many sisters cannot do without painting their nails and the Lord is saying, “When I created you, did I paint these things for you?” There are also some men who go from one place to another after work and before they get back home, it is very late and they are tired. They cannot even pray again and they sleep off like that. God is saying, “Change”, but they refuse to change. One day, they would just come and say, “I received a revelation that my wife is a witch.” Here is a man who does only 5 minutes of prayer in some days. To that kind of man, everybody is a witch, even if they are not witches.
If you feel you are being resisted, a change is required. 90 percent of the problems of a lot of people would be gone if they can just put a divine padlock on their mouths and obey the instruction of the psalmist which says, “Set a watch over my lips oh Lord.”
- Anyone who is frustrated needs a change.
- If you are suffering from lack, a change is required.
- If you are suffering from aimlessness, you don’t know where to go, you need a change.
- When you are the discouraged kind, a change is required.
How do you carry out the change?
- Release the garden of your life to the Holy Spirit. Don’t struggle with Him again. Release the garden of your heart to Him. Anything He says you should do, just do it. Don’t query the Spirit of God.
- Take ruthless action on any part of your life that is not Christ-like. Don’t pity yourself. Be honest with yourself.
- Learn to listen more than talking. Change your prayer life, change your Bible reading, change your witnessing, change your reaction to people, and don’t listen to gossips.
- The Lord is calling for that change. The Bible says that if you are not living your life as it written about you, it is better that you were not born.
Anyone taking the word of God lightly is sentenced to destruction. The Lord, the Creator, the Ruler of all things cannot be talking and you ordinary man is deciding which one to take and which one to reject. You have no right to come against what the Creator is telling you. For God to make you His treasurer, there are certain things He would first of all do with your life. He wants to ensure that when He starts to bless you, the blessings do not carry you away from Him. If He sees that there are so many unbroken areas in your life, He cannot give you an exalted position, because it will destroy you.
The following prayer points are the type that will bring instant result, therefore I want you to pray them aggressively.
- Oh Lord, anything you need to change in my life for me to become your champion, do so now, in Jesus’ name.
- All my birth rights that are not available now, I possess them, in the name of Jesus.
- Anything that scares God away from my life, and anything that stops the move of God in my life come out of me now, in the name of Jesus.
- Every spirit of the valley, loose your hold, in the name of Jesus.
- Every opposition to my breakthrough, I crush you to nothingness, in the name of Jesus.
- Every power struggling with me for my flag of victory, fall down and die, in the name of Jesus.
- O Lord, amongst the wealth you have deposited in this country, I possess my possession, in the name of Jesus.