Column: Some things don’t change
Change is a desired and celebrated component of Christian life.
“Things that don’t change are dead,” the saying goes. A rich, consequential Christian life necessarily will be filled with change – new challenges, new opportunities, new understandings, new missions, new people and often new places. Some changes are desperately hard, challenging our faith and shaking our trust. Some are so easy they undercut our faith by overwriting and obscuring our “need” for God.
A life of dull sameness, empty yearnings, or even recurring nightmares – but absent change – signals a hollow spot in the spirit. Conversely, there is a sense of newness, mystery and adventure that accompanies one’s daily life trusting in Christ and growing in faith. Change is hard to avoid; perseverance fills in the hollow spots.
Every time a believer goes to the Bible – the same old, unchanging Bible – he or she expects to see something new: a perspective previously not entertained, a phrase that comes alive, a connection formerly not noticed. That’s growth, that’s change, that’s good … and that’s dependable.
“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because … testing of your faith develops perseverance,” says James 1:2-4. Perseverance develops maturity, and in maturity, James adds, we know the joy of the Lord “not lacking anything.”
Change can be soothing or unnerving … often the latter. Regardless, faith will help us find joy in the change, though joy is different from comfort and happiness. “Not lacking anything” doesn’t mean “I get everything I want.” We are to know and define joy in the completeness of our ability to focus on Christ and in our yearning to reflect and magnify the glory of God.
And that’s the point of the whole exercise: the unchanging glory, immensity, truth, love and completeness of God Almighty. From the beginning, the actions of God’s Kingdom were assigned to God’s Light and Word, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit’s job is to shine the light of God’s glory on Jesus Christ. Our job as humans – if we allow ourselves to invite and listen to the Holy Spirit – is to change our fallen-world attitudes and worldly wicked hearts into divine-light homing beacons. We also have a bigger job than that: understanding that it is our faith in Jesus Christ that glorifies God.
Fine and dandy that we are loved, saved, adopted, forgiven, welcomed into the Kingdom, seated on the throne, and will live forever amid the majesty of the One God Creator Almighty. Amen! But what we get, finally, isn’t the point.
God’s glory is the point.
And that does not change.
Walters (firstname.lastname@example.org) knows “change” is a popular sermon subject. Once you understand God’s glory is supreme … don’t change that.