According to the historian Will Durant, modern-day northern Italy was invaded by tribes from central Europe, roughly two thousand years prior to Christ’s incarnation. Archeologists have concluded these conquerors settled in this land, becoming successful herdsmen and farmers.
They were also adroit weavers and artisans, especially in fired pottery. Evidence of their skill in forging usable items from bronze is astounding. Before the rise of the Roman Empire they had fashioned a plethora of weapons and tools, including combs, hairpins, tweezers and razors.
If modern men had lived then and had spent years scraping the hair off our faces with crude “razors” made of stone, flint or clam shells, we would have welcomed the advent of the bronze razor. Today, however, we would be less than impressed. After all, in the previous century we have witnessed remarkable advances in razor technology. From the straight razor to the dual-edged safety razor; from the double-bladed safety razor to the triple-bladed Gillette Mach3, or the quadruple-bladed Schick Quattro, razors have changed significantly in recent years. Now, men who don’t look forward to shaving each day can shave themselves four times with every stroke of their razor.
One thing is certain: It is difficult to stay on the cutting edge of razor technology. There is even an electric razor one can use in the shower. (Make sure you don’t leave it plugged into the charger, though!) While there are many reasons behind the numerous changes in the razor products marketed today, a single factor lies at the heart of these developments. Without the presence of this dynamic, none of these advancements would have been possible.
What is this vital component, this ingredient which made these advancements possible? It is knowledge. There are more factors to report pertaining to this than could possible be covered in these lines. Suffice it to say that the material used to make razor blades in our day must meet stringent tolerances for metallurgical composition. Simply developing the knowledge-base regarding these materials, along with the means to measure them, is no small accomplishment. By utilizing this knowledge, change not only became possible, it was inevitable. Knowledge is the key.
This, I believe, is why the Apostle Peter pled with such urgency for Christians to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). By the Holy Spirit he was informed that such growth is a requisite for Christians to be effective and productive—see 2 Peter 1:5-11. From experience he understood the necessity of spiritual growth. His spiritual journey from impetuous Peter to faithful follower and loving shepherd of God’s flock confirms the necessity of personal growth.
He also understood that knowledge is key to this spiritual growth process. In fact, the entirety of his second epistle is permeated with this premise. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Peter wrote, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4). The key to being and becoming all God wants us to be is wrapped around the idea of knowing God, cherishing His very great and precious promises and lovingly embracing His will for our lives.
We will experience some disquieting times, if we choose to follow God’s will. Frankly, some people like same, not change. If we are weighing our choice with respect to razor blades, it would be understandable that some are resistant to change. But, when the issue pertains to our knowledge of God’s good and perfect will, reluctance to act on what we know is sin (James 4:17), which causes us to be ineffective and unfruitful in the Kingdom of Christ (2 Peter 1:8).
Choosing to embrace change based on our expanding knowledge of God’s will may cause us to experience some anxiety and grief, as well. Our comfort zones will be invaded, tempting us to take refuge in the status quo. We may become so enamored with the good old days that we miss God’s power and presence in the moments we are now living. Which would you choose: a sharpened clam shell or a bronze razor; a bronze razor or a Schick Quattro? Acting on our knowledge of God’s will results in changes in the way we do things in our lives. We may experience some growing pains, but these are a necessary part of the process of leaving self behind and becoming more Christ-like.
To be sure, not all change is good; but, not all change is bad, either. How do we determine the difference? Change that is based on our expanding and deepening knowledge of God’s will is not only good, it is good for us! We must keep our heads and hearts finely tuned to God’s Word if we are going to remain on the cutting edge of His will for our lives.
© Bill Williams
October 26, 2005