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Elements of Spiritual Growth - Growing but not Changing
by Greg Baker
5/30/2011 / Christian Living
Change can be both a good and bad thing. On one hand, improvement, and becoming stronger, more Christ like, more principled, and more loving is something we all should strive for. On the other, changing in the wrong direction often leads to peril and misery.
We know that God doesn't change.
Malachi 3:6 - For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
And then there is the following verse of warning:
Proverbs 24:21 - My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
So, on one hand, it appears that change is a bad idea. God doesn't change and there is a very real warning about involving ourselves with people who change. But then God is perfect and for Him to change at all would always be a change for the worse. For us, however, we need and should improve. We need to become stronger. We need to be better Christians. We need to grow!
The verse in Proverbs 24:21 is a warning against changing much like the weather changes. What is the common saying? "If you don't like the weather, just wait a few minutes." This change, like the changing of the weather is not good.
Yes, we should change. And yes, we should not change, too. So how do you determine good changes and bad changes?
GOOD CHANGES ARE ABOUT GROWTH
That which is not growing, is dying. Growth is deliberate, intentional, and often designed. In fact, growth is the goal.
Psalms 92:12 - The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
1 Peter 2:2 - As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
2 Peter 3:18 - But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Any change that is growth can be considered a good change.
WRONG CHANGES FOLLOW THE WINDS OF CIRCUMSTANCES
Unfortunately, most of the changes we allow into our lives are not changes of growth. They are changes of circumstances. We allow circumstances to change us. Our actions, our attitudes, our perceptions, our world view is often determined by the circumstances of life.
I recall once seeing a giant tumbleweed run down a fellow walking through a field. The wind shifted even as the man struggled to rise and the tumbleweed ran him down for a second time. I imagine this is what we are like when we allow circumstances to dictate our direction and thinking.
Ephesians 4:14 - That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Sometimes we are hot. Sometimes we are cold. Sometimes we are passionate about Christ. Sometimes we are not. Sometimes we love Church and the things of God and sometimes we do not.
Allowing circumstances to dictate how we change impedes growth. Circumstances should be used to simulate growth, not stunt it. The following verses all speak of the idea of not being moved due to circumstances:
Psalms 10:6 - I shall not be moved
Psalms 16:8 -I shall not be moved.
Psalms 30:6 - I shall never be moved.
Psalms 55:22 -he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
Psalms 62:6 -I shall not be moved.
Psalms 66:9 -not our feet to be moved.
Psalms 121:3 - He will not suffer thy foot to be moved
There is a very real danger about changing due to changing circumstances. It is easy to serve God when there is no adversity. But when the spiritual weather changes, what then?
We are not to be spiritual weather vanes!
GROW STRONG AND REFUSE TO BE MOVED
These verses give a wonderful picture of this concept:
Proverbs 12:3 - but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
Colossians 1:23 - If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled
Colossians 2:7 - Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith
Imagine a giant oak tree. It has grown tall, but because it has also put down deep roots, it won't be moved when the storms rage around it. The tree has deep roots unlike the shallow roots of a tumbleweed. If you want to grow as a Christian, to take your spirituality to the next level, you need to put your roots deep in Jesus Christ.
Most of us desire to grow in our spiritual lives, but growth is dependent upon how deep we put down our roots. Plant yourself in the Christian life. Don't make it a pastime, or a hobby; make it your life. Only when you have deep roots will you survive the storms of life and grow even stronger.
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