It is common, and to a certain extent normal for human beings to resist change. Most people have a tendency to nesting, that is arranging life around us so to make it the most comfortable place we can. Then we try to dwell in that comforting place, and we fight change with all our strength, because in our mind change will shake our nest and consequently make our life feel uncomfortable. How many times do we hear the affirmation, “We’ve always done it that way.” This is the typical answer of someone who is afraid of welcoming change.There is nothing wrong with trying to make our own existence a comfortable one.
The problem with keeping things the same is that we not only fight against change, we also fight against improvement. In fact, there is no improvement without change. In order for something to get better, some changes need to occur.
For Christians this is a very important point, because we are called to grow spiritually and improve every aspect of our life for the glory of God.
Most of us made a change in their lives when we first converted, and then we stopped. God does not stop working with us the day after our baptism. He is eager to teach us new things and ways we can enjoy life in fullness. He wants to bring small changes in our life every day. The moment we oppose change, we resist God’s action in our life.
We can consider welcoming change a spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are practices that help us have a closer relationship with God and know his will. In this way welcoming change is a spiritual discipline, it allows our gracious Lord to interact with us. This spiritual discipline is about trusting that the changes God is able to make in our life are worth more than the comfort we are able to create for ourselves.
This concept is true for churches as well. When we complain that our church is not moving, it is not going anywhere, or it is not growing, our follow-up question should be: “Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to operate, or are we resisting any form of change?”
In my experience at Village Church, I saw improvement whenever we allowed God to bring in new ideas, and when we allowed the Holy Spirit to refresh our church with big and small changes.
I encourage all of you to intentionally step out of your comfort zone and apply changes in your life. I pray that we are able to listen to God as He strives to advance our lives and our church.
[This article was previously published on the Village Church monthly newsletter]
2 Replies to “Welcoming change: a spiritual discipline”
I like the concept of change as a spiritual discipline. Never thought about it before but does make sense. The Gospel challenges my life in so many ways that change is necessary if I want to experience life in the kingdom.
Right now, I welcome change for the most part but I’m still young. I wonder how open to change I’ll be 20 years down the road.
You are right, time may compromise our ability to welcome change. That is why i think it is important that we understand “welcoming change” as being a spiritual exercise.
The reality is that any spiritual discipline runs the same risk. If we stop reading the Bible, praying, worshiping we will eventually get rusted in their practice.
We are intentional about worshiping at least once a week. We make an effort of praying and reading the Bible daily. Why not getting into the habit of intentionally discover in what areas of our life God is leading us to bring a change?
The trick is making of “welcoming change” a simple but consistent practice in our spiritual journey.
I guess you and I can pick up this subject 20 years from now. After two decades of change-welcoming experimentation we may have further insights…