Everyone Who Grows, Changes

bible christianity growth

Wm. Paul Young (author of The Shack) wrote the foreword to Brian Zahnd's book, Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God. In it he makes a profound argument.

"If transformation is by the renewal of the mind and I have never changed my mind, then be assured I am actively resisting the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Everyone who grows, changes."

Young's quote references the Apostle Paul's argument in the book of Romans, instructing us not to "copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think" (Romans 12:2a NLT).

There is a palpable tension here. Many—if not most—Christians actively resist changing their minds in an attempt to honor the way they currently think about God. Changing the way you think is not usually a quality we put much value in. We often go so far as to imply it shows weakness or lack of resolve. Yet as Young points out, might this be our defensive explanation for resisting the work of the Holy Spirit?

One of the first questions I ask each guest on my podcast is "How has your faith changed in the last ten years?" (see: Cabernet and Pray). I love that question because it tangibly shows people what it looks like to grow in real-time. And most answers include stories of pain and discomfort in the journey.

But if everyone who grows changes, we should expect to change our minds regularly. In the last ten years, I've changed my mind on the concept of hell, the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the church, and the nature of how we read the Bible today. In each area, I've experienced pushback and questions. Yet I know no other way to grow. The beauty is that as I've explored deeper into each topic, I've found Christians who had already arrived at these views long before me and were eager to welcome me in.

That's the beauty of the church. We tend only to know one room of the Christian tradition (often in which we were raised). But as you explore further, you realize you're exploring a mansion with diverse and nuanced rooms. You're still under the same roof, but the layout is often very different. The house is bigger than you thought possible.

So here's your friendly nudge to keep going, keep questioning, and allow yourself to go where your mind and heart lead you as you listen to the Spirit, even if you've never been there before. It's not just okay to change your mind; it's a sign of growth.

Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

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