How we change -- often through adversity & diversity: (Part I):
As we recognize our way-shortness of the mark, and seek transformation of our minds & lives, ie., being "conformed to the image of Christ", surely we soon come to the question... "How can I change?". And quickly, the simplistic Christian response is... "through the power of the Holy Spirit"... with which we all agree; but let's not stop there, waiting by the tracks as if that train comes along without a means.
So I've asked myself, and sifted the answers, and still sift the answers (I'd welcome your comments)... "Boil it down... what are the primary ways in which Christians can bring about change, and bring it quickly and effectively?" My conclusions so far:
* Repentance and prayer.
* Self-discipline & Goal-setting
* Adversity & Diversity
* Sharpened by Others
* Extend Our Impact through Others
* Specific Training or Innovations
* Iterative Processing
Without going into each of these right now, let me just touch on one today -- "Adversity & Diversity".
On a monthly tape in Bill Hybel's Leadership series, a guest he was interviewing said (my summation), "There are two notable occasions in our lives when spiritual maturity seems to take a quantum leap.... pain, and cross-cultural experience."
I took that gem and have been polishing my understanding of it... especially as an available change-tool as I desire to grow more Christ-like over the course of my life. Bottom line, isn't he saying, we learn & grow through Adversity & Diversity? That is, we sometimes have to have something get us out of our comfort-zone... ie, "outside our box"? Now while all of us want to learn from our painful experiences, surely none of us desire adversity. So I'll leave that one alone for the moment... and concentrate my comments on the second part... Diversity.
We can be intentional about our diversity. In fact, did Christ in any way preach anything different? Did he ever command, "Go into all the world, but be homogenous. Group with others just like yourselves. Find groups who are the color you are; who enjoy the worship music you enjoy; who draw the same doctrinal conclusions you draw." Or did he effectively say, "They'll know you are Christ-followers by your love. Love one another, even as I have loved you."?
If Christ and the New Testament writers called for 'no divisions among you' -- and if diversity helps us sharpen one another and mature spiritually, and even MODEL Christ's reconciling love, then how do we quietly enjoy OUR church which looks like us, sings like us and thinks like us?
Stay tuned. Coming soon... Diversity & Adversity... A testimony at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast.