I believe that God changes people in stages. This may be because we are incapable of grasping all that he wants to do for us, so he breaks it down into smaller pieces.
Bad to Good
God changes people from bad to good! When we are in a bad way (destructive to ourselves and others), we can not imagine anything else and change may seem impossible. We often start by simply speaking about the need for change. We say things like, “I don’t want to do X anymore” and “I can no longer go to Y”. Faith eventually grows and you begin to see yourself changing from bad to good.
Church is most often where this transition occurs. The challenge is that our churches are now filled with Christians that got stuck/comfortable in the “good” phase. They are no longer destructive to themselves, or others, but they are also not productive in God’s kingdom. In many cases their parent’s generation made the transition from bad to good and “good” is all they have ever known. I believe that God is in the process of waking these Christians up. I call them “sleeping giants” and they are starting to say things like, “I don’t want to do X anymore” and “I can no longer go to Y”. Notice that those are the same statements made by those that were ready to transition from bad to good. God is inviting them to the next stage. If you are interested in practicle examples of what “X” and “Y” may be, see this post: Mass Exodus And here is one about what they are looking for: Supernatural
Good to Great
He changes people from good to great! Not unlike the person that is invited to move from bad to good, at first, the person being invited to transition from good to great cannot imagine that there is anything better than good. There is an added layer of complexity as well. God was responsible for moving us from bad to good, so we are hesitant to move to the next stage, because it means leaving the safe place that God originally brought us to. Additionally, this step involves separating from those who are content with a good Christian life. These issues can be a substantial, mental barrier that prevents us from transitioning from good to great.
When Jesus hand picked his disciples, you could argue that they were “good” men. They were obviously productive members of their Jewish communities, as a result they would have been involved in the “church” of their day (temple) and would have been religiously motivated to help others. Yet Jesus invited them away from all of those good things and into great things. A substantial part of the gospels are devoted to the disciples struggle to grasp the greatness that they were being called to. Jesus even asked them if they were going to leave him, like so many other “good” people were doing (John 6:68). Bravely, these men accepted the invitation to greatness and stuck with Jesus, because only he had the keys to eternal life. Those who followed him into greatness are the ones that are recorded as turning their world upside down. That is a sustainable, eternal result!!
If you are a good Christian and can see the lack of sustainable, eternal results from the endless stream of Christian studies and programs, I propose that the unsettling that you feel is God’s invitation to move from good to great. Once again, faith is growing and, if you bravely embrace it, you can transition from good to great. Then future generations will remember you as one of the disciples that turned their world upside down.