I have often written about the tensions inherent in the Bible and the practice of faith. For instance, the tension between God’s sovereignty and free will. This pandemic storm is revealing and clarifying another one of those tensions—specifically, that between rock-like stability and continual change.
Followers of Christ have acknowledged and sung about our stability in Christ for generations. Psalm 40 presents a wonderful word picture of slipping and sliding before being lifted out of the pit and set on the solid rock. “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” (Psalm 40:2, NASB95) Or consider a few words from a classic hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” I could go on and on with examples from scripture and from songs ancient and recent. Our faith rests on solid ground.
And yet there is also a dynamic of growth and change in our faith. Our journey in Christ begins with change, of being born again and new life continuing as we grow in Christ. Paul wrote, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” (Ephesians 4:14–15, NASB95) Or consider Peter’s final admonition, “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18, NASB95) If our faith is not growing, something is terribly wrong.
Our current situation provides us the opportunity to firmly engaged both truths. What we believe has not changed, but how we act on that belief has changed greatly. Even though our world may be crashing around us, we stand on the everlasting love of Jesus. When everything around us is changing, He never does. Yet, we can also embrace change, discover new ways to activate our faith. Allow the storm to tear away the manmade parts and rediscover the cornerstone of Christ. Great stability and enormous change all in one gigantic package.
The goal here is not to embrace change for change’s sake or to firm up old or new traditions. Instead, the goal is to embrace Jesus. Embrace and hold fast to Him no matter how dramatically our world changes and shifts. And to embrace and welcome the changes He is working in us through this time of anxiety, fear, and confusion. Call this an evergreen faith that has deep roots and is ever-growing. Faith stands on the solid rock but is constantly moved by the wind of the Holy Spirit (John 3). It is set, anchored, static, and at the same time, moldable, flexible, and dynamic.
And what comes out of this tension? What truth is revealed as both realities are held? I think it is best summed up as relevance. If we change without being anchored to Christ. If we simply mold faith to fit the world or if we become cemented in tradition, then faith quickly becomes irrelevant. But, firmly holding on to both ensure the relevance of our evergreen faith – no matter what comes our way.