The nature of humankind throughout history has tweaked the interest of many a psychiatrist, anthropologist and historian alike. There seems a veritable unending to the vexation that the human condition presents, and it certainly defies science to explain it adequately. Life fascinates us so, and that, in a myriad of forms. People cannot be predicted but for one thing.
Here’s one for you. People don’t change that much.
Even though there’s more than a hint of scepticism and arrogant resignation in the statement, consider it for one moment or two. You might find it to be true.
Proverbs certainly attests to the unchanging nature of the simpleton, the mocker and the fool. Once they’re fused that way as children their fates are sealed, or so it seems. (Our experience would agree.) The model sceptic among these (possibly best, the mocker) never changes but for one thing: God. God’s the common thread in any change.
Even Saul before he became Paul was already predisposed to God; a religious fanatic, just playing for the wrong team. His conversion saw his fervour extrapolate the Christian faith for Christ and his Church like no one before or since, ever. Yet, he was always zealous!
Sceptics against God are just as zealous as those rampantly for him. Richard Dawkins fights with the creationists and them with him. They fight with their individualised facts—those they believe they can back up—and they’re almost as bad as each other. But, the problem surrounds belief and fear. The creationist fears the Dawkins’ of the world will convert those Kingdom-bound to the exclusion of Christ. Dawkins can only see the faithful following blindly, but he ironically is possibly most blind, being so hard against an openhearted, reasonable discussion on the merits of faith.
Yet, this is not a Christian argument. It’s one of human nature. People don’t change that much.
The fact that people don’t change much is a good reality—truly good news—for those already into true Spiritual progress, for even they fear a spell of backsliding could be inevitable. They fear regression. The whole church does. Indeed, many of the New Testament gospels and letters refer to it, and certainly so did the prophets. Even Moses had to contend with it.
But those truly saved and indeed dependent (in the best of ways) on their spirituality will live no other way. They’re regenerated. They know the reality of Christ and are truly re-born.
So, really, the church has nothing to worry about in people backsliding—if they’re genuinely saved to begin with. The Spirit within such a person will drive that person in such a called way, because their very nature has been changed, renewed, awakened to truth, grace and light.
‘Queer as folk,’ I believe is the expression. And folk will be folk for as long as they exist. We’d give up on them but for the fact we’re told by God not to. We see here that only God—his Spirit—can change and transform people.
And this is partly (okay, mostly) why we believe. God’s the one. We’re only his divinely-appointed instruments, strategically placed to act in obedience to our call of God.
The funniest thing is the amount of New Age and variant enlightened, liberal “religions” getting around seeking all manner of self-improvement to the exception of God. They’re barking up the wrong tree. Only God’s Spirit can breathe new life into a worn, stubborn and otherwise unchangeable mind and heart. That being that has seen no light and can bear no light is useless for light, but when the Light comes, the person is immediately rendered living! That is a pure miracle.
If a person genuinely seeks positive change in their life, they can only sanely do that through the Alpha and Omega—our living God. All other methods will leave the seeker spiritually vanquished.
People don’t change that much typically. If we do see a changed vessel it is God’s doing through the process of salvation and willing discipleship on the part of the person changed. It can happen for no other reason.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.