The Disruption Change Brings
The end of each year brings with it change. For some of you it might be your children starting school for the very for time, or maybe you’re anticipating a new addition to your family. For others it might be leaving the familiarity of university life and starting your first job. Sometimes the changes that come are forced on us: having to care for elderly parents or having to deal with personal tragedy. Change is often painful because it disrupts our comfortable normality. Change can also sometimes brings out the worst in us because change can makes us resentful and angry. The fact that we are subject to seasons in life that we don’t always choose or want is actually a reminder to us that we need a firm and secure anchor. Navigating the changes you face with courage, joy and godliness is only as good as the place you’ve anchored in life.
This is the reason why Peter writes reminding his readers to anchor in what cannot ‘perish, spoil or fade’ (1 Peter 1:4). What if you could have a love that could never ‘perish, spoil or fade’? What if you could possess riches that could never ‘perish, spoil or fade’? What if you could know security that will never ‘perish, spoil or fade’? All of us long for what is unchanging. We long for lasting love, riches and security. And Peter writes reminding us that God has secured and given us an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. Christian people can know joy not because their circumstances are comfortable, but because of what God in Jesus has secured for them – ‘a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.’(1 Peter 1:3-4, 8) What we often fail to realize is that in Jesus’ death and resurrection God is giving us himself. He is the inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade! That’s why Peter will go on to write to remind his readers in 1 Peter 3:18 that the death of Jesus for sins was to bring them to God. God is the ultimate gift of the gospel, the inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. He is the lasting love, riches and security we have been looking for but now possess.
The reason why change is a disruption in our lives is because change often highlights how perishable, how easily spoilt and how short-lived are the things and places we anchor in to find love, riches and security. If we anchor in what is perishable, easily spoilt and quickly fading it will do one of two things in our lives. Either it will crush us and leave us despairing when change robs us of it. Or it will fill us with resentment where we will do everything we can to hold on to it when change threatens it. Change often highlights our personal idols in life, the places we anchor in to find love, riches and security. But change also highlights how the places we anchor in to find love, riches and security will never last. That’s why Peter goes on to remind his readers in 1 Peter 1:23-25 that, ‘you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.’ Peter reminds us to anchor in the one and only place that is unchanging and lasting. The word of the gospel has brought about a new birth in our lives into what is imperishable, an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade. God has given you himself in and through the work of Jesus, and that will never change. We should be able to navigate all the changes that life brings with courage, joy and godliness because God has said, ‘never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’ And so we are able to say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ (Hebrews 13:5-6) To anchor our love, riches and security in anything or anyone else around us is to anchor in what is perishable.
Whatever change the New Year brings let me encourage you to find your anchor in the one who alone is unchanging. His is a love that can never perish. His is a riches that will never spoil. And his is security that does not fade. Perhaps the changes the New Year will bring isn’t a disruption but God’s way of teaching us to anchor more and more in Him as our lasting inheritance.
Eugene Hor - Lead English Pastor