More and more we find ourselves living in a world where everything around us is changing, and most often, these days anyway, these changes are not for the good.
One obvious case in point, the man currently sitting in the White House got elected using “CHANGE” as his campaign motto and mantra; and look how that is working out so far.
I don’t know about you, but I typically don’t always do so well with change, myself; and I would even go so far as to say I bet that most of you are the very same way.
I think it is human nature to be this way, and to resist change, at least it is most often among the older generation, say forty and above.
Howbeit, it wasn’t always that way for most people; and that was the point I believe Jesus was making about the children, whom His disciples had been trying to keep away from the Master.
Jesus merely told them not to do that; and He went on to say that unless we become as they are, then we can’t even experience the Kingdom of Heaven!
What I think Jesus was saying is that for God to use us, whomever we are, we must first of all be teachable, and open to change, not afraid do fail.
Most kids are like that naturally, and are sponges, always looking for new experiences, and always wanting to do and learn new things.
Most of us were also that way, ourselves, once upon a time… and if we are going to be used of God, as adults, then we had better learn to be that way again!
I think the older we get the more we tend to like only the status quo, as long as our emotional and physical needs are being met, and we are comfortable. But I’m discovering, having read the Bible, that our being comfortable is just not a priority on God’s list; but our being conformed into the image of His Son, our elder brother, Jesus Christ is.
I am finding that this process of our always being transformed and changed, into the image of our Lord, cannot happen unless we get use to change, and begin to accept it.
The Bible teaches us about old and new wineskins to make this point, and John Paul Jackson, in his e-letter (below) makes that same point.
There is a certain fluidness that is necessary if we are going to be used of the Holy Spirit, that requires our being use to change, on a moment’s notice; that is if we are to go with the flow of the Holy Spirit, and what He is doing in any one time or place; and the truth is, He is always doing a new thing; as we can readily see in the Bible.
John 3:8 (The Message)
7-8″So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak.
You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.
That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”
Even though the Bible says clearly that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; nevertheless, one of the great paradoxes we find in the Bible is that, though He changes not, He is also a God of change, in that He never does the same thing twice, in the same way!
We can see this all throughout the Bible, that God always was doing something new; as evident in the fact that He never does a miracle twice, in the same way.
We see that in Jesus’ ministry, and also we see it all throughout the Tanakh (Jewish Old Testament).
Sometimes I think change is necessary because God is trying to introduce Himself to a new culture, or a younger generation; and in those situations it is of paramount importance that we adapt, and are pliable to whatever changes are required, so as not to be a hindrance to the move of the Spirit.
We are very wrong if we think God uses our comfort level and our life experiences as His standard for everyone else, as a plum line or reference marker… because He doesn’t!
In fact that has never been the case in any generation.
Every fisherman knows well that if he is going to catch fish, he must always adapt his bait to the taste of the fish, and not his own.
Consequently in history, because of most people’s resistance to CHANGE, in every revival in history, instead of the next move of God being able to build upon the last, and the last move being the ceiling for the next; rather what typically happens is, the ones who are most resisting the next move of God are the participants of the last move.
This is what normally happens; you have people saying things like, “This can’t be God, because it is so different from what I’m used to and what I experienced!”
It is a huge mistake for us to think this way; and really when you think about it, for us to even think that any move of God, before we can accept it, it must pass muster with us, and have our approval first… I mean how myopic and small minded is that?
For us to think that God only likes the sort of music and things that we have grown accustomed to, things that agree with our particular culture, our taste, and our life experience, is to try and keep God in a very small box; which He will not allow anyone to do.
If the Bible has anyone message that we need to learn from, it is that if we are to be used of the Lord, and are to be in the flow of the Holy Spirit is doing in the world, at any one time, or in any location, are our being fluid and malleable, and accustom to change, is an absolute necessity!
Let’s take Caleb as our example:
- Caleb’s courage was first displayed after his return from his spy mission into the Promised Land. He was willing to take a stand with God when the crowd was more than willing to oppose God’s will. As we recall, ten of the spies returned with “bad news”. They stated that taking the land was beyond their ability (Numbers 13:31).
- Joshua and Caleb reported just the opposite. In fact Caleb, “quieted the people before Moses”, and said, “Let us go up at once, and occupy it; for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30).
- He also said, “If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us” (Numbers 14:8).
- Caleb was simply trying to motivate the people to go up and possess the land which God had promised (Genesis 17:8). They in turn desired to kill him (Numbers 14:10).
- Think about it! These people would rather have killed Caleb than listen to his words of exhortation.
- As the Bible says of Caleb: “So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly.” Joshua 14:14
As Christians grow older, we should grow in faith. The classic example of persevering faith is that of the eighty-five year-old Caleb ben-Jephunneh.
God himself certified Caleb to be a man of great faith, one who obeyed God fully. He is an inspiration to all true believers—not just older people, but everyone who is maturing in Christ.
The only caveat I would add is that God never contradicts Himself, and that whatever God does always lines up with His Word; but the sort of things we have been talking about here are more in line with the subjective preferences and tastes of the individual; which has to do more with the culture they are from, than it does anything else.
We need to understand that God is always adapting to new cultures and new generations of kids; just as He once did with us, and our parents most likely resisted us as well, in the same way; and then for us to think it ends with us… well, I don’t think I have to tell you how foolish that is.
Read on and see what John Paul Jackson has to say on this subject.
From: Streams Ministries [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2010 7:01 PM
Subject: What has God put on your heart to do? by John Paul Jackson