“The only constant is change.” ~ Heraclitus
This quote, from a Greek philosopher who lived 500 years before Christ, is just as true today as it was 2,500 years ago. Change has become the rule at my house, and there have been changes aplenty!
For starters, the old tree-house has come down. You might recall this tree-house as the one I used in a recent sermon illustration of how one should plan ahead. The tree-house served as an example of not executing a plan. Well, I said then that the structure was coming down this spring, and so it has. There is a spot in the yard, where that tree-house once stood, that continually draws my eye. My mind tells me that something is missing there. It may take a while to get over that feeling.
Next on the tour of changes, moving inside the residence, my wife’s store-room has been completely cleaned out! I know. There are still some die-hard skeptics out there who refuse to believe it. I don’t blame you. I would doubt it also, except for my participation in the experience. You see, a small portion of the “junk” that had accumulated in “my wife’s room” was mine. A great deal of that stuff was divided between the garbage collection and donations to Goodwill. One of the things that I regret throwing away was an envelope of letters from my college days. Some of the people who wrote those letters – to be honest – I don’t even remember them, but others I do. Most of those notes were silly, really, but a few – just a small portion – were serious. I fear I should have kept those few letters. Now they are gone, and my heart tells me that something is missing. It may take a while to get over that feeling, too.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~ Anatole France
In a recent article in WORLD Magazine, Janie Cheaney writes about “A Nation of Terrys.” That is to say, a generation of American “slackers” who, due to fear of change and other reasons, refuse to grow up. These are the adults, way past college age, “marrying age” or “whatever age is your standard of adulthood” who will no or cannot move forward with their lives and are usually found residing in their parent’s or grandparent’s spare room. Cheaney claims that the solution to this “epidemic” is strong families supported by strong churches. I believe she is correct. Families need to train their members for and support them during the transitions of life, and churches should be beside them with supplemental encouragement, instruction and – when necessary – rebuke. It seems to me that is what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is about when it proclaims, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
So the question becomes, then, what sort of changes is God working in your life?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17
Some changes are relatively easy. I’ll get used to the tree-house being gone. I’ll get over the loss of those letters. As my father-in-law says, “At this age, I can’t remember what happened fifteen minutes ago.” So, at minimum, I have that consolation to anticipate.
Other changes are more difficult. Like, for some, growing up, becoming an adult and taking on responsibilities. As noted, families and the church need to encourage us along in these transitions.
Spiritual change can be either easy or difficult. That depends upon how it is done. If we allow God the freedom to work His will by His Spirit within us, then the change He desires is accomplished with relative ease. If, however, we attempt to accomplish lasting spiritual change by ourselves – on our own, apart from God – it doesn’t take. As Jesus noted in His parable from Matthew 12:44, our efforts – apart from God – don’t last.
So, as the seasons are finally beginning to change, I pray that you are sensitive to the changes going on around and within you. May you cooperate with God in the work that He would do in shaping and changing you into the reflection of His Son, Jesus Christ.