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How To Change Your Actions & Change Your Life For Good

I’ve had a hard
day. This has been one hard month. We’ve had a hard year. My life has been so
hard.

Yep. Sometimes life is like that. It certainly was for
Jacob.

“Jacob replied, ‘I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years.’”
(Genesis 47:9 NLT)

According to Jacob, he had a hard life. Yet I wonder
what Esau would say?

You see, Jacob lived under the
blessing of God (ruthlessly stolen from his brother, Esau).

“From the dew
of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant
harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. May many nations become your servants,
and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may
your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all
who bless you will be blessed.” (Genesis 27:28-29 NLT)

What an incredible
blessing. Surely such blessing would guarantee at least a good life.

Yet
Jacob did not experience that kind of life.

Why did someone who had
God’s blessing on his life live such a hard life?

Perhaps Jacob made life
hard on himself.

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because
we are united with Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3 NLT)

Might I remind us that as
believers, we too live under a blessing. A superior blessing to that of Jacob.
We are blessed with every spiritual blessing you can possibly imagine, and then
some.

So why is life hard?

Yes, there are times we come under
immense attack. The minute you gave your life to Christ you became a target of
Satan. And he makes it hard.

But, sometimes we make it hard on
ourselves.

How do we make life hard on ourselves? I’m glad you
asked.

Poor Perspective 
The couple desperately wanting to have
a baby could become discouraged and disheartened, or cherish time they spend
together.

The single woman who wishes to be married could pine away in
sorrow, or she could embrace the benefits of singledom wholeheartedly.

A
child could despise waking for school each morning or be thankful for the
opportunity of education.

It all depends on perspective.

From
Jacob’s perspective, his was a hard life. And you have to admit, it kinda
was.

His brother wanted to kill him, he married four women, his daughter
was raped, his sons killed a city in revenge, his son Reuben had an affair with
one of his wives, he thought his son was dead for 13 years, and his livelihood
was struck by famine.

However, Jacob also had incredible experiences. He
was blessed by his father, he dreamt of angels ascending and descending from
heaven, God promised his descendants would be great, he fell in love with a
beautiful woman, he had twelve children, he prospered even when Laban tried to
deceive him, he was protected, he reconciled with Esau, he wrestled with God, in
famine God sent him to Goshen, he was reunited with his son, and died passing
the blessing on to the rest of his family.

“Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 NLT)

If life is hard, take heart and have the perspective of
an overcomer.

Poor Mindset 
If you read Jacob’s journey to
Paddan-Aram in Genesis 29 and 30, you find there is a lot of work going on.
Jacob had to work for his wives. Leah worked for love. Rachel worked for
approval.

Perhaps life is hard because you are working for it instead of
operating out of grace.

There is work where seven years feels like days
called grace. There is work that feels like more than seven years called toil.
And there is a fine line between them both.

“Are you tired? Worn out?
Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your
life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch
how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-29
MSG)

If life is hard; stop forcing it and allow God’s rhythms of grace to
take the lead.

Poor Decisions 
There are times when life is
hard because of our own poor choices.

Laban was bad news. He sold his
daughters. He lied. He cheated.

Yet Jacob got into agreement with Laban.
And he paid for it.

Get in agreement with the wrong person and you end up
with Leah. You end up with trouble, debt, bad relationships, and addictions to
name a few.

If life is hard because of poor decisions and bad agreements
there is a way out. It might be as simple as unfollowing their posts on social
media. It may mean blocking their number. Or it might require specific wisdom.
Remember, God promises to provide wisdom when we ask (James 1:5).

Poor
Vision 

The Bible tells us Leah had weak eyes (Genesis 29:17 NIV), but if
you ask me, Jacob was the one with weak eyes. He couldn’t see the future and
lived in the past.

When Joseph was taken to Egypt, Jacob almost died of
heartbreak. The one thing keeping him alive was tied up in the past – his first
love and the good that came of their union.

Nothing makes life hard like
looking back. Life is not meant to be lived in reverse. The past does not belong
to us.

Decide today you will no longer make life hard on yourself. Change
your perspective, mindset, decisions, and vision. A blessed life does not have
to be hard.

[written by Sarah Coleman, a wife, mother and Senior
Pastor] 

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Tony Orji

Dr. Tony Orji is the founder and owner of Success Tonics Blog. He is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

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