Yes. Yes, you can. If you are a Christian, you can benefit spiritually from a big move.
Staying Has its Benefits…
When we think of staying – staying at a job, staying in a relationship, staying in a church or in our hometown… we think of faithfulness and long suffering. We think of years and years of striving for patience, kindness, goodness, self control and gentleness with the same group of people over and over again. And that, no doubt, is spiritually very good for us. We have opportunities to obey the the “one anothers” of Scripture because we know the many “one anothers” all around us!
When we need to confess sin, or ask for advice or prayer, staying ensures we have trusted friends who can help.
Staying is usually the harder thing to do because it doesn’t carry the excitement moving does. Spiritually, that is also very good for us because we have to do the hard work of loving the same people day in and day out without the big hoorahs of moving.
Moving Has its Benefits Too
Before 2020, our plan had been to stay put in California forever and ever, but God saw fit to move us across the country. Although leaving a blue state has gotten a very bad rap in the church lately (check out this post for more on that interesting trend: http://redstateramblings.com/there-are-many-ways-to-be-faithful/), unsurprisingly, God is still faithful to bless and grow and help and love His people, just as He would have done if we had stayed in our old State.
Here are three spiritual benefits I believe God provides as a result of a big move. (Certainly He can provide many, many more! These are just some of the benefits I can see with my limited human understanding.)
Greater Self Awareness
Practically speaking, one of the most spiritually beneficial side affects of moving is the self awareness it helps to create, meaning you realize your sin followed you to your new State! When that annoyance creeps up, or that weakness rears its ugly head and you see how even with the new policies that reflect your values, the larger home that makes life a little easier, the rolling hills and new places to explore, you are still completely hopeless without Christ… that is a spiritually beneficial reality to ponder because it increases your dependence upon the gospel.
Renewed Commitment to the Honors and Duties of Marriage & Parenting
The big hot ticket item amidst the debate in the church today over whether or not it is better for Christians to stay in blue states or leave, is the question: Does it please God more to be committed to your local community or to your nuclear family?
One of the very best things I have seen as I’ve spoken to other leftugees, is the strong desire of dads and moms to protect their children and future grandchildren from harm. That strong desire is spiritually beneficial because it forces us to take seriously the roles God has given us in marriage and parenting.
Having to find a new church is hard, but it is so spiritually beneficial both to the kids and the adults in the home to think through some crucial questions. Questions like: “Why do we go to church?” “What is church?” “What does God’s Word say about these things?” will come up repeatedly after a big move.
Spiritual stagnation is easy to come by when you are doing the same things, week after week without truly considering the why behind what you are doing. Being forced to ask about the why behind the action is spiritually beneficial because it challenges us to be sure our actions our flowing out of love for God and the truth of His Word.
Moving also presents untold amounts of time spent pondering the character of God. Questions like: “Is God really sovereign over everything?” “Can He really care for my children in a new and strange place?” “Does He really order our steps?” A big move brings out many questions about the character of God and His promises to the Christian. These questions can be spiritually beneficial when they are brought under the authority of God’s Word.
God is Going to Grow You Whether You Stay or Go
Trials will still come. You’ll still struggle with sin. But, one thing is for certain, God grows His people. He does it wherever they are, through whatever means He chooses.
So rest assured Christian, wherever you go, God will continue to bless you. He will continue to strengthen your faith.
If our help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth, surely He will keep us, grow us, help us and bless us wherever on this Earth we may be.