After my previous blog exploring the quick to respond transformation that God loves, I thought it would be helpful to pump the brakes in this one. Not all transformation is good for us. Change is a part of this life as a result of the impact of sin. We can either be transformed into the image of Christ or this world.
There are times we change quickly with the times without realizing we are actually changing into the image of a fallen man and not the perfection of Jesus. It is easy to get wrapped up in the movement and lure of culture. Change is appealing on many levels and deceptively looks like the way of God at times. Isn’t that the strategy of the serpent in Genesis who told Eve, “You will become like God.”
There is a danger with being swept up in change. Rather than being a part of the discerning process, a lot of people rely on the discernment of others. It could be a charismatic leader or a trusted community that could prompt this sudden shift in someone. History is proof of this. Throughout history people get swept up in ideology that brings about wars, genocide, idol worship and all manners of sin.
“ For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4
The new testament is full of warnings of false doctrines and false prophets. These are not just hypothetical warnings but promises that there will be people to deceive you. There will be people intentionally trying to lead you astray, and those who have been tricked themselves.
How does it happen that people can so easily change? It is so easy to take the more trodden path of least resistance. It takes vigilance not to get caught up in change that brings destruction. It takes being steadfast in the midst of opposition. It takes not being swept up by fears and desires. This walk with Christ is one of excitement and journey but also steadfast in truth.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them.
Many of you may remember from Sunday School the story of Moses leaving the people of Israel to seek the Lord on top of a mountain in Exodus 32. He is gone for so long that the Israelites are worried about their future. So they do what they have seen done by other cultures and make for themselves a statue out of gold to worship. They make a golden calf. This is done rather quickly and not from the counsel of the Lord. They have seen God come through for them many times by this point, but still they quickly turn away.
There are times when we hold on to a desire and place it higher than the wisdom of God. We even search the scriptures and wisdom from people far and wide just to hear that our desires are good. The sad thing is that there are often counsel no’s from God in prayer, scripture and community that are ignored in the process. In fact, as this “discernment” plays out longer, the voice of God falls silent. Ignoring the voice of God in one area affects our whole relationship with him. It is never localized.
There is a key question that must be asked in this process. Is scripture my guide for and through this change? Am I using the culture of this world to inform and drive the change I embrace or the culture of the kingdom?
But, you might ask, “How do I really know if this change is good or not?” We don’t as believers usually start out by saying, “I want to rebel against God and his ways.” I don’t think that was the starting place for Adam and Eve either. We need to surrender our desires and potential changes before God. This entails bringing mature believers into the discernment as well. We shouldn’t go searching for the approving voices, but the voices of the faithful mature believers. We must surrender what we want to be the outcome, being willing to put to death the desired outcome.
We must remember that although we think we know what is best for ourselves, the one who created us knows us better than any. He always knows what is going on and is for those he has created and called.