Trees, Tumbleweeds and Swamps

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” –Ecclesiastes 3:1

Can someone be a Christian and also set in their ways and unwilling to change? In all honesty, yes, I believe it’s very possible. In fact, people do just that every day. However, the question is: should they? The question of its sinfulness is endlessly debated, but no Christian can contest that it’s very counter-productive.

God is all about change.

The Bible is filled with examples of people being uprooted from their homes and thrown into unfamiliar scenarios. Various references are made to changing seasons and time periods. Matthew 24:35 says “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

One of the worst things a Christian can do is become comfortable. Once this happens, he begins to believe that all things depend on his own intuition, senses and abilities. He develops a bloated sense of entitlement and an artificial series of needs he did not previously have. God is slowly removed from the picture and thus so is his spiritual calling.

This is when the proverbial snow globe is turned upside-down and given a good shake.

When all a Christian has to grasp is his own ways, habits and routines, what happens when they are all suddenly gone or they can no longer be something on which to depend? This is a true test of character and faith.

In writing, this is why we put our characters through situations of sudden change. The easiest way to tell the most about a character in the shortest amount of time is to put him through great adversity, and the greatest adversity a character can endure is that of questioning everything he knows and believes. Even Joseph in the book of Genesis was put through such a test, and it spoke volumes of his character and reliance on God. Why is that? Ask the builders of the Tower of Babel.

After the Great Flood, the people were told to scatter, but instead, they built a rallying point in direct defiance of God’s commandment. Even now, it is hardwired in our nature to settle in, get comfortable, and serve ourselves, and as humans who have no natural predators, we can do it with relative ease Just look around you. We’re making it easier all the time. Why? Because this is how the natural man defines peace.

Joyce Meyer once provided an interesting example. Two painters were asked to paint a picture of peace. One painter produced the image of a sunset on a calm seashore, while the other produced a picture of a bird’s nest on a tree set against a raging, noisy waterfall in the background. “Which one was correct?” she asked.

The first painting depicts peace as presented by the natural man, whereas the second painting depicts God’s peace. Peace is not the lack of adversity, but the steadfastness amidst it.

Can someone be a Christian and consider themselves set in their ways and unwilling to change? I don’t understand why anyone would want to. I used to be very risk-averse in my youth until I drew closer to God and realized that to fully reap His blessings, I had to follow Him wherever He would lead. This meant that if I had to uproot all my habits and comforts of home to perform His will, then so be it. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11)

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we become as reckless and wandering as tumbleweeds. It just means that though we enjoy things, we must not become so attached to them that we can’t move when God gives us the command. This doesn’t just apply to the rapture and material treasures. It applies to everyday living and our habits and attitudes.

“No, God. I don’t want the deed to a gold mine. I’m too busy clinging to my lump of coal!” Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Listen to yourself speak. Whenever we refuse to change when the time comes, we are saying just that.

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