We are pre-programmed with physical natures. Our reality comes to us through five senses … we see, hear, feel, taste and smell. There is a spiritual component to our makeup as well, but for the most part, we’re barely aware it exists. If our spiritual side ever does surface, we usually dismiss it, chalking it up to feelings or intuition.
We are especially comfortable with our physically oriented nature. After all, we’re born with it. It’s what we know. But it’s more than that. We are actually bound to it, and we submit our will to it. You could even say we love it. In fact, we can, and often do, become so fond of our physical nature we resist any changes to our own unique version of it. This is especially true for changes that want to shift the emphasis from our physical to our spiritual sides.
Many people are uncomfortable with the Bible, because it is a call to just that kind of change. It’s not a slight change, either. The Bible calls us a to complete, radical shift from physical to spiritual centeredness. It is because of this that being willing to change is vitally important to understanding the Bible. Resist change, and you’ll not understand.
Try to imagine a world where nothing ever changes. It’s probably difficult for you to create such a picture in your mind. It is so unrealistic. Like it or not, change is our reality. We recognize with our heads, if not our hearts, that change is a normal and natural part of life.
The Bible tells us God does not change. He has always existed, and He always will. God’s eternal existence and His unchangeableness are concepts hard for us to comprehend. His unchangeableness is difficult for us, because everything in our physical world is constantly changing.
Change is going on all around us, as well as within us, every second of every day. It has been like that since the first nano second of creation. You are changing as I write this sentence. So am I. Everyone is changing moment by moment. Yet, the God Who does not change created a universe that does nothing but change.
The first sentence of the Bible (Genesis 1:1) tells us that God created the heavens and the earth. That was a big change. At one time there was no heaven and earth, then there was. Reading on in the account of creation (Genesis 1:3) we are told that the next thing God did was change what He had just created. He said, Let there be light, and there was light where there had been only darkness. The whole process of creation, as presented in the Genesis record, is a series of changes. There would be no heaven and earth, no trees, no animals, no Adam and no Eve, no you and no me except for change. Can you see that the moment you were born you changed the composition of the entire world? One second there was a world without you, and the next the world included you. The world would never be the same again. This same process is taking place in rapid fire succession all over the earth. The whole world is undergoing a baby explosion … it is being made anew birth by birth by birth … and we rarely hear or give much thought to the cry of a newborn baby.
The continual and constant change of the universe is one of the best kept secrets of all time. Isn’t that curious? Could it be that someone or something prefers that we remain unaware of the change taking place at all times? If we were to become aware of the ever changing universe, we might begin to wonder about how we were changing … and what we were changing into … we might even wonder if it were possible to chart another course … change our destiny … become something different … something better. Wouldn’t that be something great and wonderful?
We understand that we are all changing every day, moment by moment, in ways not readily perceived. A child grows and grows each day and then one day she realizes she is no longer a child but a young woman. We grow, we mature, our bodies change and our physical capabilities become limited, and we generally accept these life-changes with grace and dignity. However, when the choice is ours to make, resistance is usually our reaction. Often we resist change even in the face of overwhelming evidence that making a particular change makes good sense.
Change is very often the one thing required for a person to experience the fullness life has to offer. Does that mean we should make a change every time an opportunity presents itself? Of course not! Trying to adapt to every new trend will soon set a person into a tailspin. We must also exercise care and caution. Explore possible outcomes. Play out diverse scenarios. Make an informed decision.
Changing our ideas and beliefs, even when difficult, is at the core of learning and growing mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is possible that a belief we are holding very tightly could be incorrect or even harmful. Who’s to say that a simple change might make a significant difference? The process for making changes is to collect information, weigh the evidence and then make a logical decision.
In spite of our natural tendency to resist change, we are likely to consider ourselves as being open minded. Yet history suggests that closed mindedness is more the rule than the exception. Most of the world’s open-minded thinkers have been persecuted, mocked, ridiculed, or worse, put to death. Galileo, Columbus and the Wright brothers are examples of those who fearlessly charted a new course toward change. Of course, the most notable course-changer of all time is Jesus Christ. He chose to change His place in heaven for a life in human flesh that would lead to shame, pain and death on a cross. This was a far greater cultural change than any we will ever have to make. The result of His choice proved to impact the world like none other.
Willingness to examine new ideas that challenge your core beliefs, and then to change your viewpoint if warranted, takes courage and a passion for following your heart. In this lies a fundamental difference between the disciples of Jesus and the Pharisees. In the words of Jesus the disciples heard the calling of their hearts and followed Him to a new life. The Pharisees, on the other hand, would not consider retreating even slightly from their staunchly held religious beliefs. The reward for their unwillingness to embrace the light shinning in their personal darkness brought them the condemnation of the Lord of the universe. Accepting change is difficult and not all change should be embraced, but it is clear that an open-minded posture is in our best interests. It is good to make the tough decisions and embrace those new ideas that will lead to richer more satisfying lives.
Although it is centuries old, the Bible contains ideas as new for us today as they were to the Pharisees and disciples. Whether we accept or reject them is for us alone to decide. Keep in mind, however, that just as in Biblical times, the ideas of the Bible are still the most important ones a person will ever have to evaluate.
The Bible calls us to make a deep, profound change in our lives. We must change our very nature. And we must do it based on something as widely misunderstood as faith. The prospect of taking such an action can raise so much fear in us that we easily convince ourselves it is not worth the time, effort and energy to make a serious examination of the Bible.
The truth revealed in the Bible is unique, unchangeable, everlasting and always in perfect unity. When people choose to renounce the ideas of the Bible, do they do so on the basis of a stringent review and assessment of its contents? Unfortunately, this is generally not the case. My experience indicates that opinions concerning the veracity of the Bible are usually based on hearsay and supposition. Most people who question or disagree with the accuracy of the Bible will usually admit they haven’t read it. Surely, making time to explore the Bible’s contents is well worth the effort. The Bible certainly deserves a review no less rigorous than any academic idea. Analysis of its contents should be made with great care and patience. Because of its uniqueness, an accurate evaluation requires a certain basic understanding of its character and nature, just as one would need a proper frame of reference before beginning an examination of any unfamiliar material.
Accepting that change is a reality of the universe, believing that we can all change for the better, and being willing to make sound changes in our lives is critical to understanding the Bible. Read the Bible, and you’re reading a book that is calling you to make a fundamental personal change. You have a choice … you can make the change or not … but if you are unaware of change, and resistant to it, you shut yourself off to being able to choose. It’s a good idea to keep all of your options open.
That’s my Viewpoint, what’s yours? Whether the same or different, I would like to hear from you. It’s all right for us to have differing viewpoints. Having dissimilar points of view hasn’t been a problem for the body of Christ. Resolving differences has. Most conflicts over doctrine, practices or beliefs usually end in arguing and division. It need not be that way. It should not be that way. Only we can make the necessary changes.
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