Does God have less of a desire for a person to change in their 80’s than He does when that person is in their teens or 20’s????
Recently I heard an argument against change in aging adults. The argument was based on the idea that if someone is old and grew up in a different generation, we should just accept them for how they are and not expect them to change. Basically, I was told they aren’t going to change. While I agree wholeheartedly that we cannot change anyone…..that is a God thing…..I strongly disagree that God does not want to constantly change us and grow us, even in our 70’s or 80’s.
If we are Christians, then until the day we die God is seeking and desires for us to continually change. Nowhere in scripture does it teach us to stay the same and become “set in our/your ways” …..God’s desire is for us to become “Set in HIS ways!”
As I grow in my relationship with Him, I have found that at almost 52 years of age His desire is for me to constantly desire to change and grow…..even though I have stopped growing physically, I should REJECT certain attitudes about growth such as the attitude that says because I/we are old, or when someone else grows old physically, we can’t change. Or, the attitude that says because of how a person grew up they can’t or shouldn’t change. The mentality that people are too old to change and are set in their ways is a dangerous concept to buy into.
Taking the attitude of “that is how we did it and I’m not going to change” is a narrow-minded approach to the Christian life that puts God in a box. It basically says that unless we are young physically, we can’t or won’t change. We are putting human limits on God. God can do anything and His desire is for us to constantly change. If we buy into this mindset we are basically buying into that mindset for ourselves. This is a complacent attitude that is not biblically based, only culturally based.
First and foremost we have to realize that as long as we have a breath, God’s desire is for us to grow in Christ. In so doing…..we would naturally change and become more like Him. I find that in the Back 9 of life…..a growing, intimate relationship with Christ…should burn within our hearts a desire to change and be refined. To accept a “cultural lie” that people can’t change and that as people age we shouldn’t have the expectation that they can or would change gives others a view of God as small and weak. Very out of character from the God I have come to know.
God does not change. He is perfect. But….He deeply desires to see us change….into His likeness…. I love the scripture found in 2 Peter 1:3-4, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” The scripture continues to instruct us on CONTINUAL CHANGE…..
Picking up in verse 5 and following, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge, self-control and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness and to godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in INCREASING measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” [emphasis mine]
God’s desire for us is growth! No matter what our age…taking on the mindset that we stop changing at a certain magical age can hinder our prayers for ourselves and others. Among other things, we find that we stop asking God what we should do next because there is no “next” if we aren’t going to do anymore changing. We are also giving ourselves an “easy out,” even if it is subconscious, that as we grow old we don’t have to change.….God is in the life-changing business; someone’s age is of no matter to HIM. God looks at the heart, no matter the age.
I have learned from God’s Word to test the spirits. In 1John 4:1 it states, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” I have learned not to believe what everyone says but to line it up with the Word of God….to seek for myself what scripture teaches. It is too easy to excuse sin. We accept someone’s behavior as ok because they are old or excuse it because that is the way they grew up….but it is a slippery slope….
God seeks to refine and change the 52 year old (ME) as well as the 17 year old as well as the 80 year old….it is a cop-out to make the argument “that is how I/they grew up”. It covers over repetitive sin…….our goal is to become more Christ-like and even though we are ALL SINNERS….with age should come wisdom and a desire to change and sin LESS because, hopefully, we have had more time to allow God access to the depths of our heart. It is an act of the will….to seek and desire for God to change us…we cannot be passive.
How different things would be if Abraham had been unwilling to change. Read the whole story for yourself in Genesis. I want to point out one verse to you. Genesis 17:17, “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” Abraham was 100 when he and Sarah bore Isaac. Sarah was 90! A child at 90?! Think about that for a minute.
AGE IS NOT A HINDRANCE FOR A HOLY GOD….It is only our lame excuse to hide behind when we are resistant to allowing God to change us.