Most of us are familiar with the proverb “Humans are creatures of habit,” and we can quickly identify areas of life where that is true. We like certain things to stay the same and become uncomfortable when they don’t. As an extension of that there are occasions when we think not only that change is unnecessary but that it is actually wrong. I say “think,” but very often there is little thought given to it—it’s just us being creatures of habit!
This reluctance to even consider certain changes affects the Christian life also. Change is often equated with compromise and declension. There is a tendency to view anything that is different—and especially anything new—as being at best suspect and at worst sinful. But this is not always the case. Certain changes are wrong. If a change involves a breaking of God’s Word then it is plainly sinful and must be shunned. But on the other hand, Christians must be changing. The cry of the Reformers was “reformed and always reforming,” and a growing Christ-likeness in a Christian necessitates continual change.
This kind of change is not negative or unscriptural but is a sign of growing spiritual maturity. As a Christian grows in grace, he will invariably look at some of his past actions and attitudes and regret them and perhaps repent of them. As he sees and knows more of Christ, he will see things differently and change. As Romans 12 puts it, he will be “transformed by the renewing of his mind.” This is good, positive, and necessary change, a change we should be constantly praying for.
Sometimes a similar thing can happen within a church. I’m not speaking of change for the sake of change or change to make the church more like the world. God forbid. There are non-negotiable aspects to the church of Christ, and to change those would be sinful and disastrous. However, there are changes that do not fall into that category. Who can deny that the church could exalt God better, edify and encourage the saints more, and evangelise the lost with greater passion and purpose? No one! Therefore, change in these areas is not only good but necessary. Not all change should be viewed with condemning suspicion. If it draws a Christian closer to Christ and makes the church more effective for Christ, then change is good. Indeed, it is our duty to make such changes! Believers need to think about change and pray for grace to change so that we would become more like the Saviour. Remember, the church desperately needs and prays for revival, and revival always brings change.