God always wants to do a new thing. Even when He accomplishes the same objective, God will use different means or methods to do it. For instance, when Israel needed water in the wilderness Moses was instructed to strike the rock with his rod. The next time, God told Moses to speak to the rock. In the New Testament there is record of Jesus healing three blind men. Once He spoke to the man, another He applied mud made from His own spit. The third man, Jesus laid hands on … twice!
I’ve heard it said that the only thing constant in life is change! As Christians we need to resist the temptation to pre-judge the method and keep our focus on the motive. Things may not look the same as before. They may not sound the same as before. But let us not mistake different for wrong. If our Lord can use different tactics to heal the blind or bring water to thirsty people, He may use different means to help us bear spiritual fruit.
Compare farming methods used 50 years ago to what is done today. Not only has knowledge increased on how to effectively raise a better crop, but technology (mechanical and otherwise) has increased dramatically to the point that yields have doubled for some crops. New is not bad, it’s just uncomfortable because of the habits we formed using the methods with which we got started.
Our theme at FBCR for 2021 is “Investing In One Another’s Spiritual Fruitfulness.” Keep in mind that what works for you may not work for others. Let us not get lost in form but focus on function. When we are being used as an agent of change by the Lord it may not look or feel “normal.” That’s ok. Let us be like Paul, when he wrote to the Church at Corinth, “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV)
Pliable, flexible, adaptable – these words need room in our lives when it comes to helping others grow. Give opportunity for God to do a new thing, or even an old thing in a new way. The first illustration given in this article was regarding Moses and water from the rock. The second time God provided water from the rock He instructed Moses to speak to the rock, not strike it. However, Moses, out of his frustration with the murmuring and complaining of the Israelites, struck the rock the second time instead of speaking to it. God still provided the needed water from the rock, but because of his disobedience, Moses was not allowed to enter into the Promised Land. To us, that seems like harsh judgement for such a simple failure. However, God was trying to teach His people how to trust Him and to listen to His voice, because God knew when they entered Canaan it would be a very difficult process. Israel would need to hear and obey what God said.
The same is true today. We need to become sensitive to God’s instruction, and then be “doers of the work.” When we do, we will allow the Holy Spirit to use us to help others develop spiritually.