Why do we stay stuck in the familiar—even when the familiar isn’t serving us well?
The age of colonialism, increased trade, and cross-cultural communication came not only with ample enthusiasm for the economic opportunities. It also came with strong doses of fear of the foreign and the unknown. There were plenty of manifestations—Western Europe’s jitters over African and Asian immigrants, China’s Boxer Rebellion, the Ottoman Empire’s aversion to the printing press—but they all expressed the same principle. From all sides, everyone wanted to protect their own cultural identity.
That’s understandable, especially in a world in which countries are bent on exploiting each other’s strengths. But as people who are conforming to the culture of God’s kingdom, we can’t bring the same fear of the unknown into our spiritual growth. After all, we serve a God who is making all things new. Fear of the new is the last thing we need.
At a spiritual level, many people stay stuck in the familiar—even when the familiar isn’t serving them well. But the gospel is all about change, and the only way to change is to step out of the old and into the new. That requires courage and initiative, as well as a good bit of persistence. But it’s worth it. What God offers us is always good, even if it’s unfamiliar or unsettling. Embrace it and experience the gospel in its fullness.