When you think about how your life has changed over the years, you may think of different places you’ve lived, schools you’ve attended, or jobs you’ve had. Or you may think about different friendships, items you owned, a particular style you had or personal growth.
We are constantly changing. Our appearance, interests, activities, and much more. Change is a given in life. However, there is an adage that says, ” The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Have you ever experienced this? Externally there are differences but when you take a deeper look, not much really changed at all. That’s because change doesn’t always equate growth. Growth requires an increase to some degree.
I have a friend who was working in her career field of choice and she was thriving in her position there. She enjoyed her job but had an aspiration of obtaining a higher position. This higher position was her dream job. Her company did some restaffing that included changing their team structure and departments. They eliminated some positions as well as created some new ones. The companies restaffing resulted in a new job for my friend. I couldn’t withhold my excitement upon hearing the news! They created a new position in a new department specifically for her.
Beginning my celebratory, my-best-friend-just-got-promoted-dance, I couldn’t help but notice that she didn’t share my enthusiasm. I asked if she was happy about her new job and she told me that she was doing the same job just in a different department. Her company moved her location in the office, the team and department she was apart of, and even her job title. Yet, she was doing the same job as before. There was no career growth for her.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Christian faith looks differently over time. Not the kind of different that adopts the view of our culture which says you can redefine what biblical faith looks like. Ideas that take the moral characteristics of a Christian but will leave out the self-denial, sacrificial love for another. It is also not the self-elevating mindset that doing good works apart from considering the motive behind and manner of how those good works are done. This type of mindset is more about doing just for the sake of doing. Christian faith, however, looks different in that it matures over time.
Biblical Christian faith assumes that there will not just be change but maturity as a result of the test of time and trials (James 1:2-4). Some changes do not prove that the process of maturity has occurred. For example, simply adopting good habits like giving to those in need, or serving in a shelter done with an expectation that you will receive some acknowledgment. Or perhaps, becoming a dependable person and doing acts of kindness in order to gain status in how others perceive you. These are changes none the less but with a focus on self.
Maturity involves risk and will be costly. It will involve things like personal humiliation to pursue peace or remaining patient with a person who has insulted you. Or risking the loss of a dream job to maintain the kind of integrity that honors Christ. Maturity is costly in that you may decide to take a job that you are over-qualified for, underpaid, and underappreciated because it will mean that God will get the glory, not you. It may mean that you suffer the loss of approval of man because you chose to speak the truth about Christ in order to please God (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
Adding only the concepts, characteristics, and ideals of Christianity is much like the job change my friend experienced. A lot of changes without moving closer to the main goal. For the Christian, becoming more Christ-like (godliness) is our goal. Our transformation by God, through the Holy Spirit, into the image of Christ
Growing in Godliness
This book is perfect for teenagers and moms of teens. It provides a practical guide pointing teen Christians with a detailed guide to following Christ. I think of the girl who is the only Christian in her family and has no idea where to start in her faith journey. Or the teen surrounded by a healthy Christian community who is wanting to keep her walk fresh.
I like how Lindsey Carlson writes from the perspective of an understanding mom to her daughter, giving her solid wisdom, lovingly guiding her along the way of Christ. She clearly points out pitfalls, explains the cost of active faith, also while tackling generational issues today’s young women face. The teen years don’t have to be dreadful. They can be purposeful years spent being made into the image of Christ.
For many, our Christian faith began in our youth. At the outset of our profession of faith, there will not be the mature fruit of a woman who has had the privilege of walking with Christ and growing in godliness for many years. Sadly, the opposite can be found true of a seasoned woman. This woman may have made a youthful profession of faith. Yet, her life does not yield the maturity resulting from the time given to her.
Imagine a youth camp full of young teens all there for one reason. They are there to experience the one true living God. What a beautiful picture! For some Christian teen girls, going to a camp was a time that led them to make their profession of faith. That alone is worthy to rejoice over. But a good question to consider is who will she be when she’s sixty? Thankfully we have an all-knowing God who knows that answer. However, older Christian women have the opportunity to steward the relationships they have with the younger women around them. Modeling lives in pursuit of growing in godliness before the next generation leads them to do the same.
It is important to keep in mind that like any living thing, growth takes time. It also doesn’t always happen according to our timeline. Small changes, decisions, and choices that add up over the years. Thankfully we know that God provides
I received a review copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.