I love the old songs I grew up singing. Well, most of them. One of my favorites is the old hymn, "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand." It begins, "Life is filled with swift transitions/ Naught on earth unmoved can stand/ Build your hope on things eternal/ Hold to God's unchanging hand." I memorized these words long ago, but their meaning continues to increase in clarity as I journey. Life is indeed filled with transitions—some swift, some slow, but through them all, we learn to trust in Jesus.
Transitions can be tricky to navigate at times. Just like intersections on the road. With thousands upon thousands of miles driven, I can thankfully say, I am only responsible for one accident. It happened when I was 17. I was driving an unsaved friend home from school, and I hoped the Keith Green song on the radio would break through his defenses. It was a rainy day, and I made the mistake of looking down to turn the volume up. The quick glance down was just enough to keep me from noticing that the car in front of me had come to a stop at the intersection. I slammed on my brakes, but on the wet pavement, we hydroplaned and violently slid into the back of the car in front of us. A loud crashing of metal, a smidgen of shock sirens, lights and an ambulance ride followed.
I learned a valuable lesson that day. Intersections can be dangerous. This is true in the best of circumstances, and when you add in the variables of weather and other drivers—look out! I wish I had! According to statistics, a high percentage of highway accidents take place each year at intersections. So, I am not alone. This means we should all develop the habit of navigating intersections more intentionally. This isn't just true for driving, but it is also true with the intersectional points of transition.
Transitional moments require a greater sensitivity on our part if we wish to navigate them successfully. This is why I love the Ninety-second Psalm. Like all of the Psalms, it contains help for the real lives of real people like you and me. This particular one provides special help to us during transitional seasons.
Notice that it begins before the first verse with the words, "A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath day." So this song was written primarily for Sabbath-day singing. Why the Sabbath day? Because on the Sabbath, you are leaving one period behind and preparing to enter a new. The Sabbath is a day of rest; a day set apart for worship, but it is also a day of transition. On the Sabbath, you say goodbye to yesterday and greet tomorrow. It is a day of change, a time of preparation.
Because of this, Psalm 92 takes on a greater importance for those navigating life's transitions. I found at least six keys that help me and will help you also.
The first key is found in the first verse, "It is good to give thanks to the LORD ..." Transitions can be stressful if we focus on the unknown and magnify the difficulties. Too many of God's children live anxiously through any and all change. The Holy Spirit instructs, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Phil. 4:6, NKJV). Therefore, the opposite of anxious living is thankful living. In addition, the attitude of gratitude is like a small hinge that causes big doors to swing open before us (Ps. 100:4).
The second key is also found in verse 1 (MEV), "...and to sing praises unto Your name, O Most High." Though it is important to be watchful during a transition, it is worship that gives us the clarity we desperately need. Singing songs that celebrate His great power and good works helps to center our focus on His promises instead of our problems. Intimate moments of worship in His presence remind us of the glory of His goodness and the overwhelming wonder of His love. He brought us this far, and He will not leave us. It was during a transitional season as the church leaders in Antioch worshiped the Lord that they received instructions that changed their world and ours. The clarity we need often comes to us as we worship.
Third, what we say is key. "To declare forth Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness in the night" (Ps. 92:2). While going through transitions, it's tempting to talk more about the challenges than the promises. The problem is that trouble talk only leads to more trouble. Successful transitions require that we continually declare the goodness and the faithfulness of God. He is good, and He always fulfills His promises. Jesus taught us that a declaration of faith when our heart and mouth are in complete alignment can move mountains. "He will have whatever he says" (Mark 11:23b). Hebrews 10:23 encourages believers to "firmly hold the profession our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." Whatever it looks like, no matter what it feels like, keep declaring His goodness and His faithfulness.
A transition is a hallway between one room to another. In the kingdom of God, it is the space between two dimensions of glory. God continually leads his people ever forward and ever upward (2 Cor. 3:18). Each new level of strength, glory and faith brings a new level of testing and opposition. God has promised fresh oil for those who are in transition. This is our fourth key to successfully navigating through these seasons. I love the wording of the old KJV, "I shall be anointed with fresh oil" (Ps. 92:10b, KJV). Even though the anointing is a past and present reality in our lives, it always remains a future promise. Fresh oil is waiting for you in each new season. If you can believe this promise, you can receive it in your life. I encourage you to read more about the need for fresh oil by clicking this link: wp.me/p7Buu5-8S.
Now we come to our fifth key, found in the twelfth verse. The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition reads, "The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Righteousness is simply rightness with God. It manifests as the right behavior but it begins with right thinking. Indeed, our behavior is ultimately a result of our beliefs. Navigating transitions God's way requires His way of thinking and behaving.
As born-again children of God, we have inherited our Father's nature. So, now our natural tendencies are new and on the basis of His righteousness. "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21, MEV). We are not sinners saved by grace. We were sinners. But the saved by grace are the righteousness of God. From this position, we prioritize seeking the way God operates and learning to think right thoughts that align with His kingdom (see Matt. 6:33).
And finally, our last key to victorious transitions is found in verse 13, "Those that are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God." The height of our success is determined by the depth of our root system. Christians need solitude, but not isolation. We were not created to be alone. God sets us in families and places us in the body just where He wants us (see Ps. 68:6, 1 Cor. 12:18). There are many today who want to believe that they can float here and there as they feel led. They reject the idea of submission and roots. But the planted ones are they who ultimately flourish. Get rooted and bloom where you are planted.
From Glory to Glory
The mantra of the true disciples of Christ is, "Ever forward, never backward." The call of Jesus has always been, "Follow Me" (Matt 4:19b). And following brings us to transitional moments where we must continually choose to move forward and avoid wrecking our lives and those around us. I hope this brief look at Psalm 92 has helped you. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Blessings and happy transitions!
Keith Nix is the founding pastor of a thriving congregation, The Lift Church in Sevierville, Tennessee. He has traveled as an international evangelist since 1993, carrying a unique prophetic message of awakening to this generation. He and his wife, Margie, have one daughter, Isabella. To learn more and get a free audio download you can visit KeithNix.org. You can connect with Keith on Twitter here: twitter.com/KeithNixTV & other social networks, FaceBook, Instagram and so on @KeithNixTV
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