The Slow Change is usually God Change


The kingdom of God is like a tiny grain of mustard-seed which, when it is sown, is smaller than any seed that is ever sown. Mark 4:31

What can I say the kingdom of God is like? It is like the yeast which a woman took and covered up in three measures of flour until the whole lot had risen. Luke 13:21

One of the things that I have seen again and again in the church and Young Life are teens (or adults) who have made commitments to Christ that are deep, real and life changing. Then they get around their old friends, and their old habits, and their old influences, and they fall back into their old patterns of destructive living. The good news is that I am old enough to see that many of these come back to following Christ. What happened to that first commitment, and what caused the 2nd turn around?

Jesus talks much more about the subtle change than he does the St. Francis of Assisi dynamic, “take off all your clothes and run out of town naked” change. Change seems to happen slowly, subtly, like yeast affective the bread dough. When that person starts to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit has been invited into their thinking, and their lives. The Spirit slowly changes the thought life. “As a man thinks, so is he.” Once we make a decision to be a Christ lover, it allows us to make that next decision to be led by the spirit. Even though teens easily fall away in the short term, that commitment that they made makes it possible to make the next choice to allow more light into the darkness. Each resolve to move closer to Love, allows the Spirit to slowly work on the inside. Spiritual growth thrives in the midst of our problems not in their absence. Give any back-slidden person lots of love, space and no judgment. Use the ministry of presence. Let the small seed do its work. Patience and Peace.

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4 thoughts on “The Slow Change is usually God Change

  1. Michael Stain says:

    Hi Don! Thanks for these words…

  2. Todd Laws says:

    Philippians 1
    (NIV)
    1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:
    2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 I thank my God every time I remember you.
    4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
    5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now,
    6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

    Jesus said,

    John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
    38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
    40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    I am thankful for God’s “relentless, lifelong pursuit” and dear family in Christ/mentors like you Don who tenaciously live and point the way for me.

  3. Jed Wilson says:

    “Hurry ruins saints as well as artists.” –Thomas Merton in Seeds of Contemplation

  4. Jed Wilson says:

    Something else came to mind, and as I typed it here I realized that “love, space and no judgment” is also an invitation for how we might relate to our own selves as well as others. “Above all, trust in the slow work of God… Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.” –Teilhard de Chardin

    Grace to you, and peace,
    Jed

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