- 2005 11 Nov
“I the Lord do not change.So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”—Malachi 3:6
So, God doesn’t change. Big deal. I’ve known that for most of my life, and I can’t say it’s affected one decision, one emotion, or one change in my life. But look at the effect it has in the verse in Malachi: “So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Now that’s huge! People miss destruction because God doesn’t change. That’s massive. But how or why does this occur, and definitely, how does this apply to me?
Growing up, my Christianity was always about me. I wanted to be better for God. I was going to change how I lived. I was going to honor the Lord with every aspect of my life. As I got older, it became harder for me to reconcile these ideas with my constant failures. I began to ask many hard questions. How do we “approach the throne of grace with confidence,” as it says in Hebrews? How can we leave behind our own guilt and shame, confident in our forgiveness? How can I say in complete trust, “Be it done to me according to Your word,” as Thomas a Kempis did? How am I supposed to step off of this cliff, to take that risk, to leave this place, to try something new, when everything in me says it’s too dangerous? How can I quit this sin, which is one of the few things that make me feel good… for a while? How can I have the kind of faith that changes my life and changes the world around me?
Throughout my entire life, I tried to develop a faithfulness in my life that led to this kind of radical difference, but I always failed. I thought if I could just be better, more stable, more consistent, then this was what God was waiting for. I thought that was what my Christianity lacked. But I was wrong. The center of this issue is God’s faithfulness, not mine. The crux of Christianity was not me, but Christ.
God knows He is the center. The verse in Malachi even starts with “I the Lord.” My problem was I didn’t have Him at the focal point. I had me at the focus, and I am terribly unstable. My faith wavered continuously because I thought it was dependent upon me. Since I was struggling in my faith, I turned to other things in my life for fulfillment and support: girls, friends, sports, music, etc. But they all let me down. Even the church and family still have human failures. But God is constant. He is the core, “I the Lord,” and He is the foundation, “I the Lord do not change.” We can build our whole lives and faith on that rock.
It’s funny that after all the Sunday School lessons, and all the times I sang that song in church about building on the sand, I still tried to establish my faith on something inconsistent: myself. We have to believe in the person of Christ the Rock and trust in His promises. He had promised the descendants of Jacob that He would not destroy them, and since He never changes, that promise is trustworthy and unwavering. Nothing they could do could change that. Our sin does not have the power to change God’s character. We have made ourselves the centerpiece of our story, every nuance of our lives hanging in the balance of our successes and failures. But we are not the hero. God is. Our lives are an epic about His power, His holiness, His justice, His love, and His grace. The turning point in the story is not our decision, but our rescue.
The stability of our faith is not determined by our ability to hold on, but by how much we depend on His immutability. The more we lean on Him, the stronger we are. We are not destroyed, not because we achieved something but because of who He is. We are not shaken, because we are built on a solid foundation. We are loved completely because God is love and He will never change.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows,”—James 1:17
This unchanging character of God can bring us hope in our failures, peace in our struggles, and even greater joys in our successes. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal after all.