We experience a change for the better as we submit ourselves to God’s grand story of making all things new.
The older I get, the harder it is to change: to adjust to changes foisted on me, to adopt changes that are needed, or initiate changes that I know would benefit me both in the short and long term.
Sometimes it’s just easier to stay put, even when staying put isn’t awesome. Ask anyone in an abusive relationship. Ask anyone caught in addiction. Ask anyone with a steady job they don’t love, but are afraid to step out to find another. Ask anyone with a relatively comfortable Christianity how they feel when someone asks them to
- find a Sunday School class (when they haven’t been going)
- join a small home group (when they don’t see the need)
- commit to a season of serving that would force them to rearrange the rhythms of life
“Sometimes it’s just easier to stay put, even when staying put isn’t awesome.”
There’s a DreamWorks movie that came out in 2013 called The Croods. It’s about a pre-historic world with a family similar to the Flintstones, only more peril and less civilization. In this quest for the survival of the family, they are forced out of the cave—the only place where the father says is safe. His motto is, “Never Not Be Afraid.”
At one point in the adventure after having to leave the Cave of Safety, they accidentally catch a field of pre-historic corn on fire which makes the corn pop which buries them in huge piles of popcorn (really, you just have to watch it). One of the Crood children opens his mouth to try it, to which the overprotective father yells, “Don’t eat it!! It’s NEW!” We get that way as we age. Fearful of the new, unknown, unfamiliar.
“We get that way as we age. Fearful of the new, unknown, unfamiliar.”
But there are changes that are inevitable. The calendar never stops turning. Kids grow up and leave the house. Appliances stop working and need replaced. Another generation of Christians come of age and start leading, serving, and making decisions in the church.
And then there are changes that should absolutely be sought after, yearned for, and facilitated. I need to change my patterns of behavior in order to be more like Jesus. I need to allow the Holy Spirit to transform my mind and my thinking. If the words that I speak are really an overflow of my heart’s condition, then sometimes I need a heart transplant. I want to shed more and more of the Croody old me—to change—and continually be clothed with more and more of Christ.
These are changes that I want, but am hesitant to ask for. Because the more I allow God to transform my heart and mind, the more I’ll have to change. Change my priorities, my schedule, my expectations, my budget. My reactions to people will change. I can’t ask God to make me more like Him without allowing Him to make real, tangible, effective changes to everyday life.
And that’s a good thing.
Really, it’s just a preview of the Big Change that is to come—when God will make all things new.
“It’s just a preview of the Big Change that is to come—when God will make all things new.”
In Revelation 21:5, the One on the Throne proclaims, “Look! I am making all things new!”
Notice that God does not say, “I am making all new things.” He takes the things that are, and makes them new again. He isn’t going to just wipe the slate clean and start over.
And the great thing is that the work of New Creation is starting now—in us by the work of the Holy Spirit. Being made a new creation now is just a practice run to the restoring, healing work that eternity will bring. We get a taste of God’s renewal here. Now. Today.
But that requires change. Good change.
“We get a taste of God’s renewal here. Now. Today.”
I’m about to step into my kitchen where an old, worn-out dishwasher just ran its last load. There in my kitchen is a freshly delivered Frigidaire still in the box waiting to be installed. Having never made this kind of change, I’m expecting everything to go wrong. But I’m learning, watching YouTube, and Home Depot is just down the street. It’ll take some work, some trial and error, and maybe a mess before I’m done. But it will be worth it in the end.
That’s the point of any change for the better. It’s hard. But we all need more of it. And Jesus and/or His people aren’t too far away to help.
So, before we go change the world, let’s start by letting God change us.