Innovation is all the rage right now. If you want to be anything in business, arts or service industries, you want to be an innovator. It is a huge compliment if your organization, company or school gets tagged as innovative. Here is an interesting question. Is God innovative? I think this is a really important question that has significant theological implications. Stick with me on this. I think it will prove helpful.
Lets unpack the word innovation.
I read an article recently describing the difference between inventing and innovating. Here is the main distinction.
INVENT: To create something that is completely new.
INNOVATE: To bring life to something that is old by improving it.
Bill Gates–inventor or innovator? Well, both, but he made his bazillion dollar empire not through inventing, but through innovating. Bill Gates developed the windows operating system and that’s been a pretty big deal, but what made him the father of the coolest technology of today is that he took existing stuff that was already created and made them better. The IPhone has very little brand new technology. It is mostly stuff other people invented put together in a way that was better than anyone else had done before.
Here’s my big idea. I believe God is an inventor and an innovator. The Christian life begins with God reinventing us and continues with God constantly innovating as we grow.
This week at Community Church we talked about the spiritual shift–that radical, inward, complete change of the heart that changes us from the inside out. The beginning of this shift is when we see God’s inventive work. When we accept Christ and become one of his followers it is not a renovation of the heart where God improves upon what is already there. No, it is a complete change. That’s why Jesus talked about it as being “born again.” That’s why Paul in 2 Corinthians said, “if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. The old has gone the new has come.” The initial spiritual shift God does in us is a spiritual heart transplant.
The prophet Ezekiel explained how this works. He said, ”
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
When God enters our life he cleans house. He takes our heart of stone that is unable to love God passionately and replaces it with a heart that is tender toward God. God reinvents us on the inside. It is not a slight change or adjustment. It is a total overhaul. Theologians call this the new birth or regeneration.
But God does not stop there he moves from inventing to innovating. He takes our heart that is open spiritually to him and begins to breath new life into us. This is what we call the sanctifying work of God–the process of everyday growing more like Christ. Now that our heart is completely new, God starts bringing change into our everyday. Each day God is taking something that’s old and he creates something. As we cooperate with God’s innovation, radical change begins to happen in every sphere of our life.
We begin to manage our lives differently when God is present.
We think differently about how we give even when there are uncertainties in our fiances.
We relate to other people differently when God innovates.
We need the true master of innovation to make us into the people we have been designed to be. This takes effort and cooperation on our part.
I love how God works. He reinvents our hearts and then innovates to help us become completely whole.
Start your week with this prayer:
“God breathe new life into me and change me into the person you want me to be. I will be open this week for you to do your innovative work in me.”