Staying in Step

Matthew 16

Better than any other word I can think of, change describes our world. Vast, sweeping changes, especially in the last 150 years. Simply to survive requires adjusting, and to make any kind of significant dent calls for a willingness to shift in style and to modify methods.

Consider two of the more pronounced changes in our world.

Population. It was not until 1850 that the number of people on this globe reached one billion. By 1930 (a mere eighty years later) the number had doubled. Only thirty years later—-1960—-it had shot up to three billion.

Speed. Until the early 1800s the fastest any human being could travel was about 20 miles per hour—-on the back of a galloping horse. By 1880 the “streamline” passenger train whipped along at 100 miles per hour, an unheard of and fearsome velocity. Today … manned space rockets jump the speed to 16,000 miles per hour.

And I haven’t even mentioned the technological advancements in the last century, or the enormous changes made in military armament and defense, agricultural processes, housing, modes of transportation, medicine, music, architecture and engineering, luxury items and personal conveniences, computers, clothing, and cars.

Since God is eternally relevant, since none of this blows Him away (omniscience can’t be mind-boggled!), He is still in touch, in control, and fully aware. Why He has caused or allowed this radical reshaping of human history, nobody can say for sure. But we can reasonably surmise that God is up to something.

Some would suddenly shout, “These are signs predicting Christ’s soon return.” Quite possibly. But what about until then? What is essential? We’re back where we started, aren’t we? Being adaptable, willing to shift and change.

Take communication. We must hammer out new and fresh styles on the anvil of each generation, always guarding against being dated and institutionalized. This calls for creativity, originality, and sensitivity.

More than anything else, I’m convinced, the thing that attracted people to Jesus was His fresh, authentic, original style in a world of tired phrases, rigid rules, and empty religion. Remember the report made to the Pharisees? “Nobody ever spoke like this man.” He was in step with the times without ever stepping out of the Father’s will.

Though times may change, the Lord is constant.

Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.