I know how to be abased and I know how to abound… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Php. 4.12-13)
Paul was a flexible man – if he had nothing, he learned to extend the kingdom with nothing, if he had loads, he learned to use that loads to extend the kingdom. When you are adaptable, your enemy struggles to defeat you. Every problem he gives you, you adapt and give him a new problem.
Right now two huge things are happening in the UK – there is a pandemic, and there is a lockdown. People’s responses have been varied:
- Some people have just froze, and are waiting for things to change back to normal. They are not extending the kingdom right now because they have not adapted.
- Other people are angry, they are just going on social media and ranting about the government, furious at things they cannot change. They are not extending the kingdom right now because they have not adapted.
- Other people are trying to add it all up and getting very confused, sharing all sorts of bizarre and foolish conspiracy theories and imagined cures and government plots. They are not extending the kingdom right now because they have not adapted.
- Other people are accepting what they cannot change with serenity, and working out how to use modern technology to communicate, to share the good news, to creatively preach, to engage with people, taking the time to learn new skills, invest in themselves and adapt. They are extending the kingdom of God because they have adapted.
If you want to win a battle you have to learn to be adaptable. It’s that simple, we do not live in a perfect world, so to change it and reach people, we have to learn to adapt, to be flexible, to be able to handle new environments, to be able to fight in different circumstances. Otherwise all the devil has to do is change our circumstances slightly and we are defeated!
Adaptable people keep their jobs when industries change, adaptable people are the most important people to their bosses, adaptable people can handle the fact that our world is always changing. What is precious today is not going to be precious tomorrow – what will work today might not work tomorrow, so we need to be adaptable. If you cannot change quickly, you will one day wake up useless.
The British soldiers were defeated by the Americans in the War for Independence because the British were inflexible and could not adapt to fighting in America, their tactics worked well against the French, but not against the Americans. They lost due to lack of adaptability.
Here are some things I have seen Christians be inflexible over and lose out from discipling nations:
- Society has changed so that Sunday morning is no longer church time for people. Churches that only have meetings Sundays at 10am without being flexible no longer help as many people as they could.
- Churches that are inflexible with worship styles are not connecting with their communities.
- Under 35s have changed – they will not be at your church until they have listened online, been on your website and your Facebook. If you are not there, they will never come. Be flexible and start using social media well!
- I have been in meetings where the Holy Spirit wanted to do something but the obsession with the programme meant that it never happened, because the people are inflexible.
There are many other examples, feel free to start a discussion about the need to be adaptable below.