Andy B talks about how God never changes, but we need to.
So we are looking today at change. And Steven read out a few scripture references. Go away, look at them, and read them, and inwardly digest, but I wanted to do a couple of verses. And the first one I wanted to look at was 2Corinthians 5, 17, where it says this in the NIV.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here."
And one of the things that's really important as we walk through our faith is we don't arrive at the end of the journey, at the start of the journey. That sounds like a fairly obvious statement. But we don't become a Christian and suddenly find ourselves a perfect Christian. It just doesn't work that way.
Really, really great reference I heard years ago now, Gavin Calver, who is currently the head of the Evangelical Alliance in the UK, was talking about being at a youth weekend. And there were a couple of lads who found Jesus Christ on the first night of this weekend away. And when he was talking to them, to start with, they were, well, there was lots of colourful language, effing this and effing that. It was quite a normal part of their vocabulary. And then they met Jesus.
The following morning, as they were talking about how much they effin loved Jesus, Gavin Calver was watching and seeing the transformation. By Sunday, they'd stopped swearing, because the transformation isn't immediate for everything, all at the same time. That change takes a period of time. Now in that context, those two lads had stopped swearing really quickly but it wasn't the first thing.
We heard of exactly the same thing of a guy, a wonderful preacher from the States and a musician. He became a Christian. He was asked 'since you've become a Christian, could you come and speak at this rally we've got?' and he was there. And the pastor of the church afterwards said 'That was amazing, tell me your story, tell you my testimony'. And at the end, he said just one note, when you're talking about how much you love Jesus, try and leave out some of the bad language. But he said, I know it's going to change for you. And that's change. It's not immediate. It's not like a clicking of a thumb, or switching on a light switch. For some parts of our life, and in some respects, that's what happens. And that's what this 2 Corinthians 5, 17 is kind of talking about. The old has gone, the new is here. But if you're thinking about playing a sport, whether it's cricket, football, rugby, rugby, golf, whatever, when you're swinging the club for the golf ball, or you're kicking the football, it isn't just the kick, it's the bit before the kick, and it's a bit after the kick. You don't just kick the ball, and that's the end of it. Your leg's gonna keep on moving through where the ball was. The follow through.
Well, when we come to Christ, the old doesn't just simply disappear and that's the end of it. There's actually a journey and a process. Yes, our sins have been dealt with by God when we say sorry and we put ourselves right with Him. But we don't suddenly, like a light switch become this different person. It can be really frustrating if you've been told that's what's gonna happen, that's not the reality.
We change over time, 'cos God loves us and is so gentle and gracious with us He doesn't just dramatically transform every single thing in our life in 30 seconds. It takes time.
So 2 Corinthians says this,
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come."
That's absolutely true. The old has gone the new is here. Absolutely true. But we need to remember that there's a journey involved. When you're climbing a ladder, you don't start at the top rung, you start at the bottom, and you climb that ladder.
Let's just move on to James 1, 17.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who did not change like shifting shadows."
And I love this shifting shadows imagery. James is amazing, uncomfortable reading, but brilliant. Go and read the book of James. It's amazing. But this image of the shifting shadows. If you think about a sundial, the sun moves around the Earth, the Earth moves around the Sun, whichever way round it is. I'm not really a planets kind of guy! But the shadow moves on the sundial. That's because the sun's moving, and we can see the shadow shifting. And every 24 hours, they shift and they shift and they shift. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He never, ever changes.
So often we look at Scripture and we think 'Oh, we've got to this is a bit awkward, this is a bit difficult, we'll, we'll adapt that, we'll skip this part, we'll skip that bit'. And Scripture tells us every piece of scripture is useful for teaching us in different ways. And that's really true, and really good. Let's not feel that we have to defend scripture, or be ashamed of it, or think, 'Oh, I wish God had said that differently'. God is who God is. And he has always been who God is. God does not change. But we need to change to become more like Him. If the old is gonna become like the new it can't be the same.
But God is our plumb line. Take a weight. Stick it on a bit of string, hold it up and you've got a plumb line. You've got a perfectly vertical line. Gravity pulls the weight and you've got a straight line. God is our plumb line. He holds us in a steady place. And when we're thinking 'Oh this isn't good.' 'Oh, where are we going?' 'Oh am I gonna change?' 'What's going on?' we need to go back to God, which is the scripture. That's the plumb line. That's the thing by which we measure ourselves against.
In the world today, there's lots of shifting shadows. There's lots of 'Well we've gotta think this, we've gotta think that, we've gotta change this' the one thing that's true is God's word because it doesn't change, because it's who God is. The first chapter and verses of John, go and read that, that's awesome too. But God doesn't change. So we need to change become like Him. So when we're changing, give yourself a break. It's not gonna be a light switch effect. It can be for certain things. I have had that and I've had that in my personal life. I've met people for whom certain things change very quickly, very dramatically. But there's large parts of my life that doesn't suddenly change. It's a journey.
So, let's enjoy the journey. Let's enjoy the journey with God as you transform and become more like Him. As the old selves diminishes, and we become new like Christ, remembering that He is the plumb line, He is what we measure ourselves against.
Father God, please help us to remember that you are God, and you don't change. And help us to remember that when we change, it's for our good. We're not losing our self, and losing who we are, but actually, we're becoming more like you. We're not just losing, but we're actually gaining far more than we could ever lose as we become more like you. Help us to remember that every day, to become more and more like you, we're gaining more than we could ever lose. Amen!
Written by Andy B