Saturday, March 13, 2010

Should a Follower of Christ be Willing to Change?

God is unchanging theologians call this immutability. As God the Son, Jesus is also immutable. Hebrews 13: says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Since this is true why are Christians supposed to change? Why do we assume that a refusal to change is a stand against corruption? It amazes me how many use their faith as an excuse to remain ignorant. It sounds so spiritual to wrap up their ignorance by claiming that all that anyone needs to know the Bible. Is that really what the Bible says? Is this the model we find in Scripture?

I am reminded of a quartet of young men in the Old Testament book, Daniel. The nation of Judah was taken into captivity by Babylon. Their captors choose the best of the young nobles to be trained in the schooling, wisdom, and culture of the conquerors. Theses guys are know as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were schooled to be counselors to the King. As such they were expected to master all new information and to be of help as advisors in the court.

If we are to take our cues from these young men we need to be voracious, intentional learner. So often people of faith are seen as dogmatic, rigid and unchanging and yet we are called to learn which is to change and often to adapt.

Adaption can only happen when we first have settled on what our core values (or non-negotiable) are. Once we understand what they are we can learn to be flexible (adaptable) on other issues.

The aforementioned quartet knew what their core values were and we unwilling to compromise those but were willing to compromise on negotiables. They were willing to learn the ways, knowledge, and customs of their captors but were unwilling to eat non-kosher food.

You see these men knew the difference between adaption and adoption. The later is the compromising and capitulation of all of your beliefs and values. While the former is live out your values in the real world.

People who have not identified what their core values are will default to one of two positions. The first is to be dogmatically rigid on everything and thus incapable of addressing societal change and issues. The second is to have no convictions at all and thus incapable of taking a stand on any issue.

Don’t confuse rigidity with having convictions!

As I have often said throughout my ministry, “If you are unwilling to change you should have never become a follower of Christ, for God has called us to a life of change as each of us journey through this life being changed into the image of Christ.” (See Romans 8:23)

Changing for the better

Pastor Val

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