The world we live in is constantly changing, and sometimes it is a bit overwhelming. The ideas and actions of the past and present have greatly impacted our world. Some things have been good, but others have been very bad. It is with the evil and destructive things of our world that we find our problem. When you combine the fact that some people are resistant to change by their very nature with the existence of so many harmful and destructive things in our world, many people fear change in all its forms. But how does this impact us as Christians?
Godly fear leads us to honor, respect, and obey God (Ecclesiastes 12:13). It is appropriate for us to fear God, and, in fact, it is to be expected. But notice this about our fear of the Lord – it does not immobilize us. The way in which we fear the Lord is similar to and gives us an example of healthy fear. Healthy fear exists and leads us to appropriate actions as we live our lives while worldly and unhealthy fear is very different. Worldly fear immobilizes us. When we live a life full of fear, we are not really living at all. So, what does this have to do with change?
Many people in the world are so afraid of change that they find themselves standing still. Some do not want anything to change from the way things have always been, and others do not even want anything new to ever happen. This way of thinking is not just present in the world. Sometimes it is even present in congregations of the Lord’s Church.
I want to be perfectly clear. The Word of God is the Word of God and it cannot and should not be changed. God has told us how to be saved, how to live, how to worship, and how to be the people He has called us to be. We can in no way change the Church and still find ourselves pleasing to God. But with that being said, there are things that can change and new ideas that we should not necessarily shy away from.
We have to remember why we are here. We are here to love, obey, and serve God. As His workmanship, we are trying to live a faithful life before Him and teach as many people as we can about the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Every now and then, somebody is going to have a new idea that impacts some of the things that are being done in some of our local congregations. Service times may change. The Lord’s supper may be moved until after the sermon. Evangelism may be attempted online as well as door to door and in foreign countries. If the change that is being made is not unscriptural, is helpful to the work of the Lord, and has been approved by the elders, deacons, or congregation as a whole, maybe we need to give some changes a chance.
Recently, I was able to attend the Freed-Hardeman lectureships and listen to several encouraging lessons. One of the lessons I was privileged to sit in on was “Social Media Evangelism” with Brandon Edwards. I have known Brandon for years and knew before I even went into the class that I would walk away with something that would be helpful for me in ministry. During the class, Brandon made the following statement: “Our dreams and goals should be so large that we can only accomplish them with God’s help.” This statement was said in the context of talking about new ideas and our plans for living faithful lives before God. This is not a statement meant to imply waste or extravagance, but instead is a statement meant to represent faith in God and an understanding that God can do so much when we just trust in Him. Brandon also shared a thought with us about changing our attitude to new ideas and change. Instead of rejecting the idea before we have even heard it out, maybe we should take time to listen and try a few new things. Brandon encouraged us to use the question, “What if?” to help inspire and encourage the use of our imaginations and creativity when it comes to serving God and spreading the gospel.
When we talk about change or new ideas let us not do so with fear. Not all new ideas are bad. Some are very helpful. It is also not always necessary to change. Some things already work great, and changing just to change is not always the best idea. Let us always remember who we are and Whose we are. We are children of God and we are serving Him. Let us do so with faith and obedience as well as with creativity and passion. Maybe as we think about ways we can reach the lost, we can ask ourselves the question, “What if?” and then not be afraid to try something new. So much can be accomplished when we put our faith in God.