Generally speaking, the answer is no. Regarding some considerations, that is desirable. At times, I know change produces good: when I heat food in a microwave; when Joyce makes a cell phone call from the car as I drive on a trip; when I look at the choice of food items in a grocery store; when a friend has successful open heart surgery; when I enjoy temperature control in any environment.

Regarding some considerations, the absence of change is frustrating: when I cannot control my cholesterol by diet, weight control, and exercise; when I watch society and the church become increasingly ignorant about relationship skills; when I observe the level of moral and ethical ignorance rising; when I watch us "reap what we sow"; when I marvel at the ways greed and selfishness impact and influence all of our lives.

I am reminded frequently and personally that nothing remains the same. New understandings excite me until they remind me of how much I have forgotten and how much I have never known. In the past few years I audited a condensed graduate Bible course each summer. Why? I do it for several reasons: (1) the joy of discovery; (2) the humility of awareness; (3) the soberness of responsibility; and (4) the reminder of personal ignorance.

We measure ourselves through comparisons. When we stop judging others and evaluate self, comparisons frequently disturb us. Physically, I dislike what is happening to my strength and balance in the decade of my 60s. My dislikes are based on my comparisons to the decade of my 20s. Expectations in the 60s should be based on capabilities of the 60s, not the capabilities of the 20s. Self-comparisons are never kind or fair!

But at times self-comparisons are encouraging. Mentally, I like to compare my understandings of my 60s' decade to my understandings of my 20s' decade. I appreciate the mental rewards of forty years of experience. I like the benefits of "hindsight." I enjoy the values of decades of study, thinking, and understanding.

With each Christian, spiritual comparisons are both encouraging and discouraging. Spiritual development is always a growth and maturing process. As we each spiritually develop, certain awarenesses are essential. (1) Never base personal spiritual development on the failures of others. (2) Always remember you are growing toward God's thinking. (3) Humbly accept your ignorance. (4) Ever allow better biblical understandings to guide you toward God's priorities. Growth toward spiritual maturity always requires the willingness to change. Why? Imperfect humans are growing toward the perfect God.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He never changes. To be like Him, growth demands we constantly change. Does anything remain the same? No, not if we allow Jesus to help us grow toward God.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 18 November 2001

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