By Jason Harris
It’s inevitable. You can run from it. You can hide from it. You can pretend it won’t happen. But as sure as the rising of the sun, things change. There are three truths we must face head-on if we’re going to successfully understand and navigate change.
1. Change is scary
Fear is the instinctive human response to change. Change makes us feel out-of-control as we face a future that is unpredictable. I recently spoke to a pastor who was informed in no uncertain terms that changing the lights in their church building could result in serious church conflict. When we’re set in our ways, change can arouse fear by posing a threat to the status quo. Though this may be an extreme example, change really is scary. But why do we fear change?
2. Change is dangerous
Someone has defined fear as a feeling of vulnerability based on real or perceived danger. Change really is dangerous. A peripheral sketch of the lives of Daniel and Joseph shows that every change brings new opportunities to trust God—or to doubt. Change forces us to apply biblical truth in new settings and circumstances and every new challenge presents the danger of possible mistakes in making those applications. This can even be seen in our ministry to others. As culture changes (or as we move to different cultures), we make appropriate changes in our application of absolute, biblical truth. But there is the danger that we can mis-apply Scripture or make mistakes in assessing our methods. All of this danger produces a sense of vulnerability. So how do we keep from being paralyzed by fear?
3. Change takes courage
The answer is found in knowing and trusting the God who controls all change. There is a desperate need today to courageously confront—even embrace—change, armed with the unchanging Word of God and a deep love for truth. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). We need not be paralyzed by fear. God has given us everything we need (2 Peter 1:2-3) to face change head-on and bring glory to Him in the process. Though change is both scary and dangerous, there is something even more scary and dangerous than change—no change.
Some things will never change. Absolute truth will never change. God will never change. God’s Word will never change. Other things must change. It takes courage and grace to discern the difference. May we be men of courage who will face change with discernment and confidence in the unchanging Word of our unchanging God.