Change Is A Part Of Healthy Christian Living
Written February 4, 2013
s I look back upon my life there are many things that have changed that I am not too happy about. My eyesight is much worse now than when I received my first pair of glasses in the first grade. Our national debt is 20 times more than when I was born. Television has gone down hill to the point that though we have more channels than ever to chose from it is almost impossible to find anything wholesome and entertaining to watch with your family.
A midst all of these bad changes there are many things that have changed in my life that I must say are very good. In the course of my life I met my wife and we now have a beautiful 5 year old that brings great joy into our lives. Both of these things brought great change into my life but all for the better.
As I think about change, and specifically think about my own spiritual life, I am also reminded of this fact, that change is a good and healthy part of the Christian life. Looking back to my youth and when I was first learning what it was to be a Christian and what the Bible taught I see that there has been many changes and refinements that God has made as my life has matured and grown.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 ESV
As I have studied the Scriptures and learned more about God through His Word I have had my beliefs affirmed, challenged, refined, and sometimes changed completely. All this happened because I was instructed, I learned, and I finally accepted the teaching of the Bible. Let me give you one example from my own life to explain exactly what I mean.
I grew up in an Independent Baptist Church and I am very thankful for the friendships, teaching, and lessons that I learned throughout my years there. It was through the church’s ministries that I came to know Christ as my Savior and began to grow as a Christian. There I learned was lessons that I readily accepted in my youth that I drifted from as I grew in my relationship with Christ and understanding of the Scriptures.
Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
I was taught that only a very specific type of music was good to listen to and all others were wrong and not pleasing to God (this included Christian Contemporary Music, Southern Gospel, and most any other genre of music other than Hymns). I held firm to this for a good while until I really began reading the Psalms and other passages of Scripture where people were praising God and what I found was that people were praising God with a vast array of instruments (Psalm 150 mentions trumpets, lutes, harps, tambourines, pipes, stringed instruments and even dancing). Not only that, people of many different nationalities were praising God.
The result of all this was that I had to admit I was wrong about having such a narrow minded view of music that praises God and thankfully I changed. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love hymns. Blessed Assurance is still one of my all time favorites and I am still planning on having it sung at my funeral and love its message, its tune, and cherish every time I get to sing it but I also love many other artists across the spectrum of Christian music. You know what else? I am thankful we have a God who has made a world with diverse music that we can enjoy and offer praises to Him.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
(Revelation 7:9-11 ESV)
How about you? As you look back at your life have you changed as you have grown closer to Christ? Now to be true, certain things don’t change in our lives as we grow closer to Christ our conviction simply strengthens. For example our belief in the truth of God’s Word or the power of Christ to change the lives of the lost strengthens as we mature in Christ. However, as we grow and mature in Christ and as the remnants of our old life drop away from us like dead leaves in the fall, change should be evident and it should be a blessed changed that we look back upon.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Now I will also admit I am one that resists change just like everyone else. Change is difficult to get use to, it interrupts our routine, and forces us to do things differently and accept things that are alien to us. Let me close with a couple of encouragements for us all as we grow in Christ and accept the changes that are certain to come.
First, when you are studying God’s Word don’t pull back in times where your beliefs are challenged. So many times I have to remind myself that my feelings, beliefs, and opinions don’t not trump the written Word of God. My human tendency is to do that but that does not help me when I am trying to grow closer to God. If you have something that is challenging your belief don’t back away, investigate and make it a priority to get to the bottom of things and truly find out what the Bible teaches.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:9 ESV
Secondly, don’t forget admitting you’re wrong is not a sign of weakness it is a sign of maturity. When I was at Harris Teeter I had a customer speak to me about people being filled with the Holy Spirit (in my time at Harris Teeter there were a good number of customers that frequented the store and we got to know each other pretty well). He said that the only person filled with the Holy Spirit in the New Testament was Jesus. I countered that by pointing out that in the book of Acts there were many that were filled with the Holy Spirit (Peter and Paul for example). Interestingly this person said something that has stuck with me. He thought a moment and looked at me and said you’re right, I will no longer hold to that teaching. That took me back a little bit but it really impressed me that this person would acknowledge their error and correct their thinking in very little time. Now I don’t know what happened to this person after our talk but he left me with a great example of maturity. He saw his error, acknowledged it and moved on. Every Christian would benefit from that simple example. If we have something wrong in our life let us acknowledge it, confess it, correct it, and move on.
Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.
Psalm 119:66 ESV
Finally, rejoice that we can change. I am so happy that I can grow in my understanding of God and that I can have my life molded and altered to be more like Jesus and have my mind more like the mind of Christ. That give me hope and it excites me when I have the chance to study God’s Word because I know that entering into that study I will not leave it the same.
God bless you richly as we are molded and formed by our Lord’s loving Hands!