Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tenure Vs Maturity

After many years spent doing anything, one gains valuable experience. Experience usually breeds skill and take us to the point where we can do something without even thinking about it sometimes. Experience is important and in the secular world, length of service (tenure) is valuable and comes with all sorts of perks.

However, in the Christian world, tenure or length of service as a Christian can lead to complacency and make us comfortable with our current state.  Save for the fact that we have had the opportunity to make more mistakes and therefore have a bit more experience correcting them,  tenure does not make us better off than a newborn babe. 

Sometimes,  with all those years come some pretty bad habits and the refusal to change.  Some of us have spent a lot of years getting away with certain things and even though it's not consciously done,  we feel like we can continue to get away with those things.

Today,  I realized that,  by not knowing what I know now when I started my walk 17 years ago,  I developed some pretty bad habits that are difficult to let go of.  Whilst in my head I know there are a lot of things that I have not done or are not doing right,  it's hard to make the changes because I have been doing it this way for so long.

I had the opportunity to speak to a friend recently who has been a Christian for almost as long as I have. We were at a social gathering and were having fun catching up on old times when did something in my presence. I remarked casually in joking fashion "girl, you haven't changed one bit". Her response shocked me into silence. She said "no, I haven't and I won't change for anybody." What was just a casual conversation between friends suddenly became a stark realization in my head and I almost couldn't continue our conversation. It was then I realized that length of service sometimes brings us to a point where we simply refuse to change our bad habits. We become so comfortable with ourselves just the way we are that we fail to realize that Christianity is all about change. It is about waking up daily and saying Lord, those things that are still in me that need to be changed, please, continue to work on it. Christianity is about recognizing where we are wrong and making a conscious decision to be different. The only way to be like Christ is to be less like ourselves, and we can't do that by becoming comfortable with where we are.

So this is one disadvantage of tenure.  We sometimes think of Romans 12:1 - 2 as advice for the young Christian to learn to renew their minds,  but I'm learning that the renewal of the mind must be constant.  We never stop growing and because we are always living,  there will always be a necessity for change.  Transformation is not an overnight thing,  it is a process that will never end simply because our sinful nature will never go away.

Tenure cannot be traded for Christian maturity.  Maturity requires action.  Tenure is only an existence.  If you never do anything,  you will still have tenure but you will never mature. 

Today, my encouragement to all of us to remember that Christianity is about change, growth and maturity. Let us not become comfortable with our bad habits or simply make a decision to stay the way we are. Let us remember that no matter how many years we have been Christians, we can still be immature.

May we change, grow and mature together.

Devotions like this one and others can be found in the Soul Food Series in Kindle or paperback format. 
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