Fear of Change
I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. Acts 2:17
Those who are physically dependent on opiate pain medications live in fear that they might run out. They know what withdrawal feels like and they are terrified of it. They may understand, deep down, that they would be better off without the drug, but they also know how much work and misery it would take to get there. So, they cling to the pill, worrying about the day when their supply may be cut off.
In my own addiction, I too, was fearful of change. I was miserable and I wanted to be free from the drug, but the thought of getting sober was horrifying. I knew I would have to withdraw, confess, go to treatment, and radically change my life. That all just seemed like too much change, and so, I stayed where I was – until change came to me. Now, on the other side, I’m profoundly thankful for the transformation, but back then, I feared it.
This is where a lot of us find ourselves. It may not involve drugs, but many of us are stuck in a rut of struggle and failure. Maybe it involves our diet. Maybe it involves pornography. Whatever it is, we’d like life to be different, but even in our misery, we find some comfort in the misery we know. We desire a different life, but we fear transformation because we know that we might have to do some really uncomfortable things to get there.
This is what I thought when I read today’s passage regarding the outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit. In theory, I want to be transformed as I’m filled with the Spirit. In reading today’s passage though, it all sounds, well, a bit weird and uncomfortable. I’m not sure I want to prophesy. I don’t really want to see visions. I like my life the way it is, thank you very much God.
The Christian life though, is meant to be one of continual change. As we won’t be perfect in this life, we’ll always have some struggle on which we need to be working. Daily, we’re asked to abandon our way to follow Christ. Today, our act of obedience may simply be addressing our fear of change. If we desire the blessed life God meant for us, we must embrace his continual transformation.