In my previous church, I often responded facetiously, “Then you will hate heaven.” When I received a quizzical look, I added, “Scripture says, ‘We shall all be changed’” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
The more I think on the phrase, the more concerned I am because it reflects not only an unbiblical attitude but also reveals a lack of spiritual maturity. Let me get on my soapbox for a few paragraphs.
As Christ followers, we are called to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Resisting change says we want life to be predictable. We want to be in control. Resisting change means we are unwilling to trust God for the unknown.
Hebrews 11 is littered with people who lived “by faith.” Can you imagine if Abraham said, “God, I hate change. I want to stay in Ur rather than follow you to the Promised Land” (Hebrews 11:8-12). What if Moses resisted God’s call at the burning bush because he didn’t like change? (Exodus 3). What if the children of Israel wanted to stay in Egypt (Number 11:4-6) rather than follow the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night? (Exodus 13:21). What a minute! That was their problem. They resisted change and went kicking and screaming.
Resisting change makes it very difficult for pastors to “present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). It means we don’t want to grow spiritually. We disobey the instruction to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Granted, change can be unsettling. But trials, difficulties, and changes are one of the primary catalysts God uses to stimulate faith and character development (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:2-12). Rather than resist change, we are to view it as one more trial and welcome it as a friend (James 1:2).
I think we have the mistaken notion that because God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), we should not change either. We seem to forget that God is perfect and holy and we are not. We are commanded to grow and change. 2 Peter 1:5-8 commands us to “add to your faith …” and lists several character qualities we should grow in.
If we are honest, and none of us is quite this honest, when we resist change, we disobey the clear command of Romans 12:1-2.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
When we resist change, we are conforming ourselves to the world’s values. Instead, we are to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This will help us discover God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will. When we resist change, we keep God and his will at arms’ length.
Change your mind about change. Embrace it. Take a step of faith. Who knows, God might use a simple change to jump start your faith and stimulate your growth towards maturity. He might even expand your comfort zone.