Last week, I was looking forward to helping set the stage for our new monthly study entitled, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: but was unable to because of health reasons. I am grateful for those who stepped up and filled in for me. It turns out, because of weather, we had to postpone the first class, so I have been given that opportunity once again to set the stage. I begin with this simple fact, “Change, it’s not easy.” The natural question that would seem to follow is “Why?”
In life, there seems to be three potential areas in which we may find ourselves. See if you agree. First, there is the area of purposed growth (intentional). Here, we earnestly seek to grow in our daily walks with Christ, more about that in a later article. Then, there is what could be called stagnation; that is, showing no activity. Here, we may be going through life as a mere routine, caught up in the ebb and flow of everyday events, with no true goals for growing; simply trying to make it to tomorrow, to another day, only to start all over again. Then, there is atrophy. This is an insightful word that reached deep into me. It means to gradually decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse or neglect. Wow! If I look back on my years, even as a Christian, I can pinpoint myself in any one of these places at certain times of my life.
I can see why the Lord yearns for us to grow, but change is not always easy. I think of so many bible verses in the word of God that we can read about, where change was difficult. Peter has to be my favorite, because I relate to him so much. Impetuous Peter, so bold in his convictions, said to Jesus, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble” (Matthew 26:33). So confident of his position, he was prepared to fight for Jesus, drawing his sword in John 18:10. Yet, just a short while later he would hear the words of Jesus come true as the rooster crowed, vividly exposing Peter’s denial of Jesus (Luke 22:61-62). Or how he ushered in the proclamation of the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10), only to cower to his fellow Jews, having to be confronted by the apostle Paul in Galatians 2:11ff. Change, spiritual growth, it not easy!
Here is the problem, we are all changing whether we are intentional or not. We are either moving forward, standing still, or going backwards. I know I don’t want to go backwards, but in all honesty, I am not always the best gauge of that. Standing still, may be a place where we pause for a moment to regroup, but it is still not where I know God wants me to stay. God wants me to be growing in Christ. Although such change is not easy, it is always beneficial. So, instead of going through life merely growing incidentally, I want to renew a spirit within to do so intentionally. All to the glory of His name, the furthering of His gospel and the growth of His church. Change may benefit me, but it is all about Him.