Friday, June 16, 2006

Three steps to Christian change

While I can't stake claim at being the best Christian out there (or, even a good Christian, for that matter...), I do know a few things about Christian life. One of the facets about the Christian life that I carry close to my heart involves the idea of change. As followers of Christ, we must be about change. We must be willing to constantly rearrange things, readjust things, disconnect and reconnect to things, unlearn and relearn things. If we choose to stay rigid and unchanged in our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, we eventually get our legs taken out from underneath us. In the long run, we have done very little growing.

Not too long ago, I was talking to an old college friend of mine, a young and vibrant minister in the Detroit area. He blessed me with what he calls his "Three Steps to Christian Change". I'd like to share them with you. I wish I was taking notes when I spoke to him, because I just know that I'm not going to do him justice by trying to explain them all. But, I'll try...

Step one: We should strive to learn new things about God, things that we never knew before. God is infinite. He's inexhausible. There's no way in the world that we can boast about cornering the market when it comes to knowing God.

Step two: We should look to add to a point of view that we think is already complete. The truth is, we can always find some part of our life that needs improving. In fact, we can improve our lives every single day. Seeing as though none of us are perfect (even if some of us think that we can do no wrong), life will always present us opportunities to grow. Our attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts are always in need of some adjustment and some tweaking.

Step three: We need to throw away some of our old habits. These habits can be extremely destructive if they're supported by deep conviction from the person performing to the habit. These habits include embracing doctrine, philosophies, or 'church norms' that either have no Biblical support or very little of it. The latter type of behavior is especially dangerous because certain behaviors and actions can seem so godly when they, in reality, are very destructive. For example, telling someone that they need to follow the church's dress code may seem like the "right" thing to do. But, in reality, this could be just as detrimental to the body of Christ as it is helpful. Yet, some people are so absorded in this type of doctrine that they start believing that they are on the side of right. I think that this is what happens when a lack of understanding makes the wrong path seem so right. As Christians, however, we are compelled to discern the truth from what we think is the truth.

Christian growth requires us to have a hunger for God. This should cause us to be willing to change the things in our life that are not necessarily of Him. More importantly, we should have genuine interest in figuring out the things that both are and are not of Him.


7 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Diane said...

I can tell your friend is a Godly man, with a heart for God. Good tell me, why do we have such a problem implementing all those Godly principals in our lives? They sound so good, and look good in print, but it all comes down to, "How dedicated am I to living for Christ?" I have to confess that I fall far short of the mark, moment by moment, nevermind day by day. I need to be closer to Him than I am, and He hasn't moved, so guess what? That means I have fallen away and need to renew my relationship with Him.
Thanks for the reminder and the 3 points, Andre. :-)

cynthia said...

Fabulous post, Andre. It really gave my mind something to feed on!

Cris said...

Your insight is more refreshing than you may know.

I’ve spent quite a few of my formative years in a church that used their interpretation of the Word to not only create an environment of separatism, but to also justify their own shallow, non-Biblical ideologies (like, as you put it, a dress code). Very damaging, indeed.

I think that’s why I like your thinking so much. Your view of Christ and the Church is powerful and refreshing.

karen said...

Ditto to what lenadianejennings said!

Great post!

saved_sinner said...

I loved this post. Thank you and your friend for blessing me with it! Now, I’m wondering if you wouldn’t mind sending this message to the entire body of Christ? I think that it’s about time that some of the old traditional foundations started to shake!

Andre said...

@ Diane: You're absolutely correct on all fronts:

(1) My friend is definitely a God-filled. In some respects, he reminds of you; passionate about God with a kind and loving spirit along with an insatiable hunger for God.

(2) As you put it, growth in Christ DOES requires relationship renewal. If I hop on a scale and it reads that I'm 6'1", 185 lbs (which I'm FAR from being, by the way) EVERYDAY, then I'm not growing. Likewise, if I have the same attitude, mindset, behavioral patterns, and relationship with Christ, I'm not growing.

Thanks for blessing me.

@ Cynthia: Thank you for your comment.

@ Cris: As much as it pains me to say, you're absolute right about the Church being guilty culprits in allowing their limited understanding of God to dictate policy, while turning off the VERY people to whom they should be ministering.

Andre said...

@ Karen: Ditto to what I said to cynthia!

@ saved_sinner: I think that anybody who has had something revealed to them by God has the job of sharing that with the world; including the Church. Whether or not they listen is another story...