Healthy and Right Change and Growth

There's an old expression that says "if you're not growing you're dying." I believe, to a degree, this is true. I also believe that with growth always comes change. There are some people who want growth, but no change (which basically means they don't want growth, they want unmbers of people with the same general attitudes and tastes as themselves), and there's people who want change, but hate growth (I want to keep my church small, but we need younger people here!). Growth and Change are not evil or good, and at times, both growth and change can be wonderful! Yet there is such thing as wrong growth and wrong change. C.S. Lewis put it this way:

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man. There is nothing progressive about being pig-headed and refusing to admit a mistake. And I think if you look at the present state of the world it's pretty plain that humanity has been making some big mistake. We're on the wrong road. And if that is so we must go back. Going back is the quickest way on.”

C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity Right change and Right growth should be the goal of every Christian. SO let's, briefly, define right and wrong change and growth within the church and believers. Right change is making room to engage the current culture, wrong change is making concessions to allow things in to the church for the sake of growth that the Bible clearly says are wrong. Right growth is a steady addition of believers, being trained in the style of the great commission (go, make disciples, baptizing, teaching to obey all of Christ's commands), wrong growth is seeking numbers. Right change is turning my attitude to that of Paul's (becoming all things to all men that by all means I might save some), wrong change is compromising to keep those I reach liking my message, or keeping them entertained long enough to stick around a while. Right growth is me seeking the Holy Scriptures as a mirror, and looking at myself to allow the work of the Holy Spirit to prune and shape me into the Image of Christ, wrong growth is seeking to be a better according to social norms without, necessarily, having to conform to Biblical standards. Healthy change and growth has everything to do with conforming to Christ, and in the process producing depth within a church or individual in alignment with the work of the Holy Spirit. Wrong change and growth appear to be large, but, as some have said, it is "a mile long, and an inch deep." We can only change in our complete and utter submission to the will of God, in accordance to the Grace measured out by Christ, and in accordance with the will of the Holy Spirit. Anything else is just posturing.

Galatians 5 English Standard Version (ESV)


Christ Has Set Us Free


For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.


Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified[a] by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.


You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers,[b] still preach[c] circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.


Keep in Step with the Spirit


16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do[e] such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.


25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


Footnotes:

a. Galatians 5:4 Or counted righteous

b. Galatians 5:11 Or brothers and sisters; also verse 13

c. Galatians 5:11 Greek proclaim

d. Galatians 5:21 Some manuscripts add murder

e. Galatians 5:21 Or make a practice of doing



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