“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14
A new year presents us with a great opportunity to start fresh. For many we endeavor to bury the things of the past year, embrace the present moment and set goals for a successful future. However, without a change in our behavior this is all an exercise in futility. We attempt to put new wine in old wine skins, then stand perplexed when we fail in our efforts.
It’s human nature to resist change. We like things simple, uncomplicated, convenient, constant, comfortable and the way they’ve always been. Sadly, without change we would still be a bunch of big babies running around messing our diapers, nursing on milk and throwing temper tantrums when pushed to grow.
“The only thing that never changes is that everything changes.” ~ Louis L’Amour
No other species rejects change more than humans. Every other species is nurtured to a point of preparedness, then left to complete the process to adulthood through struggle, perseverance and a relentless will to LIVE. Even the military, law enforcement, protective and emergency service members are constantly training in preparedness, but it’s not until the moment they have to put it all of into action do they actually grow, and transition from child to adulthood (metaphorically speaking).
Resisting change is evident all around us, and especially in the church among believers. We like to keep things the way they were when we got saved, had that Holy Ghost encounter, experienced growth, sang, prayed or worshipped a certain way. The irony of this is we would never have met Christ without change.
- Isaiah 43:18-19 – Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
- Romans 12:2 – 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.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
In the OT, the Hebrews wanted to cling to their perversion, idolatry and slavery. We see this in Lot’s wife looking back to a wicked & perverted Sodom & Gomorrah; also, in the golden calf & Egypt while in the desert. Even being delivered from evil & oppression, they kept looking back instead of embracing the change from their deliverance to their promised land.
The Jews in the NT were no different. They fought, debated and even killed to enforce conformity to the law and traditions of men. Jesus was constantly confronted with questions pertaining to His lack of adherence to the religious leaders traditions, but not once did He come against the Law. Christ didn’t come to abolish the law, but be the absolute fulfillment of it, according to Matthew 5:17. Likewise, even believers, of the early church and our modern expression of Christianity, fight to maintain the status quo.
Churches have been split over the color of the carpet, type of seating, loudness of the music, type & style of worship, etc., etc. Most of this was never a spiritual or ecclesiastical issue, but a preference of man to resist change. We would rather cling to the past like our lives depended on it, no matter how good or bad it really was. We are content with a diluted and deceived present that overlooks new opportunities, leaving us crippled and paralyzed with our future at risk than to embrace change by trusting in the fullness of Christ.
It’s time to remember… We wouldn’t be where or who we are in Christ without change. It’s time to put our past to rest, enjoy our present and embrace the changes of our future. It’s time to remember… “Jesus changes everything…”
James Miller Jr
“Missionary to a Generation”