I believe that one of the most important words that defines Christianity is the word "progress". 2 Corinthians 4:16 states "though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day." But what defines a person who is in the process of being "renewed?"
One of the most powerful stories I heard as a new believer was from a young man who lived in Wellington, the city I spent most of my teenage years in. I can't remember that much about his testimony other than the fact that when he got saved, he had dropped out of school and was working for a greengrocer, stacking produce each day. He had been doing this job for some time - but once he got saved, things changed. He said that God led him to many other different jobs and cities around New Zealand, and throughout all of his experiences in these different places he got the courage to share his story. What struck me the most about his story was that the way he worded it seemed to say that he had no hope or ambitions for anything other than stacking fruit and vegetables in a grocer's shop - until the Holy Spirit got hold of him and challenged him to move on.
The book of Exodus in the Bible talks about the plight of God's chosen people - the Israelites. Suffering in slavery, they cried out for deliverance and breakthrough. God eventually answered them. But He did not answer them through making things better for them where they were. His answer was to lead them out of the place of slavery - and into the wilderness, where they had to learn to rely on God and God alone for their sustenance. Gone were the days of being planted in one location, and gone was the safety that they had experienced in the sense that although they were enslaved, they knew that they would always have enough to eat and a roof over their heads. Now they were lead into a constantly changing environment, where every location was temporary and nothing could be depended on other than God, who said that he "...led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." (Deuteronomy 8:2). It was hard, and it forced them to face the truth about themselves, it got them out of their comfort zone, and challenged them. But it was necessary for their growth and was the proving ground that they had to walk through before entering into the promised land.
One thing that I have witnessed over the years which has frustrated me deeply is the amount of stagnancy in Christianity in the world today - especially in the Western world. There are so many people out there who call themselves "Christians" yet simply do not want to change and move forwards. I've experienced many people like this over my time and have even lived with the odd one on occasion. They find a bubble of comfort zone, where they don't have to be challenged about anything and receive constant enabling from those around them which gives them even less reason to change. When questioned or challenged by anything - or if something happens that threatens their little bubble of security - they react defensively and even aggressively, wishing to remain in an unteachable state, not wanting to hear the truth, wanting to remain in a place of complete ignorance so that they can hide from the truth about themselves and dream of a better future without doing the necessary character development and "soul work" to turn it from dream to reality.
In conclusion, I want you to ask yourself - where do I fit into this? Am I one of those unteachable people who calls themselves "Christian" but doesn't really want to let go of their sin, doesn't want to change and doesn't want to be challenged? Am I one of those leaders who neglects the speaking of truth out of a sense of wanting to be loyal to people and a fear of "ruffling any feathers"? Or am I on the right path, living by the Holy Spirit, obeying His commands and promptings, seeing and feeling the renewal of a changed heart through His healing touch and revelations?