Creative Destruction

Last Word

by Mike Matthews on January 1, 2012

The decision to follow Christ requires heroic dedication: a daily willingness to submit our most dearly held viewpoints and behaviors to the “creative destruction” of God’s Word.

Coined in 1942, the term creative destruction describes how capitalism constantly tears apart existing ways of doing business and recreates them in new and more efficient ways. I first heard the term at a magazine publisher’s conference, where the CEO of a major media conglomerate was explaining the only way that publishers can survive in an era of the most rapid changes in publishing history.

The keynote speaker suggested that every successful company, to stay on top, must regularly reevaluate and reinvent itself. It must tear itself apart with the ruthless eye of a competitor, reexamining everything about itself and then rebuilding as though starting from scratch. If you don’t, your competitors will.

While most of us are not CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies, this perspective intrigued me. Such a hard-nosed policy would benefit any believer. God intends for His Word to tear apart our inner thoughts and being, reshaping our lives into the image of Christ. As we learn more from God’s Word, we must reevaluate our thoughts and habits to make sure they conform to God’s standard of perfection.

Yet the term creative destruction sounds threatening. Fear of change drives most companies to resist radical change and institutionalize unsound policies and procedures. The same danger threatens churches, homes, and individuals, driving us to build walls around old ways of thinking and acting.

The concept also sounds counterintuitive. How can you make things better by destroying them? But the very process of shedding the old nature and putting on the new nature—described in Ephesians 4:22–24—requires profound, constant change.

God’s Word is truly revolutionary. It “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6). It was true of the Greco-Roman culture, and it’s true today. God’s ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8–9).

God’s Word is “pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5).

At the root of such radical change is abject humility. Standing before an eternal, all-wise God, we have only one choice: to fall on our faces and beg Him to expose every flaw and to change every imperfect thought and action.

This constant self-abasement is conscious and purposeful. God’s people should never become complacent (see Zephaniah 1:12). As the Holy Spirit guides us into better and better understanding of His Word, we should be willing to reexamine our thoughts and actions regularly to make sure they conform to our improved understanding of the truth.

We should hold nothing back. “All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

This transformation begins with the first three chapters of Genesis. When you grow up in a secular culture dominated by evolutionary origin myths, embracing the Bible’s truth about a historical Adam will tear apart everything about the way you see yourself, your home, your business, your nation, and your world.

Young-earth creationists are the true revolutionaries of our generation. By letting God’s Word regulate everything they think and do, they can become the creators and innovators of our world. Keep this in mind the next time you hear “new ideas” that combine old-earth thinking with Genesis (see pp. 40–45). They represent the old guard that resists change.

By submitting wholeheartedly to the creative destruction of our thoughts and lives, we can set an example that challenges our Christian brothers to join us in submitting to God’s Word.

Mike Matthews is the editor in chief of Answers magazine.

Answers Magazine

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