We are discussing the changes that happen to the disciples of Jesus, believers today, when they become involved in the revolution. Typically, four highly significant changes appear to be produced by a revolutionary’s investment in a revolution. Last time we saw the first one: Realigning personal identity. Let’s move one to the second and third changes.
2> Clarifying core beliefs
There is no room in a revolution for those who are ignorant of the foundational beliefs and philosophy of the revolution. These movements live or die on the vitality of their foundational, seminal ideas – ideas about truth, justice, value, freedom, and similarly weighty matters. God’s revolution is no different. The soldiers of this revolutionary band must champion the breath and profundity of the worldview God provides. By personally embracing those perspectives, their lives are altered.
Revolutionaries have a wholly biblical outlook on life, based on the belief that the Bible is God’s perfect and reliable revelation designed to instruct and guide all people. The core beliefs of the Christ-followers relate to the existence, origins, character, and purposes of God; the origins and purpose of people; the need for and means to eternal salvation; the repository and content of moral and spiritual truths; and the existence, powers, and role of various spiritual beings.
Possessing a biblical point of view on all matters, and allowing it to drive your moment-to-moment decisions, enables you to distinguish yourself from conventional thinking and behaviour.
Know this: you become what you believe. Because your core spiritual convictions dramatically influence your life choices, your major spiritual beliefs shape your self-image and behaviour. The revolution, because it is based on applying biblical principles, constantly elevates and clarifies the central beliefs that facilitate sinners being transformed into forgiven, satisfying servants of the living God.
3> Part of a community
Having a reference group as an anchor is important. Revolutionaries are often iconoclastic and frequently initiate their journey toward a new life with the intention of being fiercely independent rebels who will show the world how to do things the right way. Almost inevitably, these people discover three important things: they are not the only ones dissatisfied with the status quo, it is difficult to sustain their rebellion when they are alone in the process, and they are having less influence on their own than they expected. The result is for them to join forces, carefully but enthusiastically, with others who seem to be on the same wavelength.
Individuals involved in the revolution of faith that is currently redefining the Church in many nations are predisposed to community activity. Why? They have been exposed to biblical preaching that emphasizes the relational nature of God and the connectional character of ministries. As much as they may appreciate the intensity and gutsiness of John the Baptist, they recognize that a solitary voice in the desert has less effect than a united voice in the marketplace. This is a major point of difference between social malcontents, who often act out their displeasures in isolated and unconstructive ways, and social reformers, who refuse to accept what is and agree to work in tandem with like-minded reformers to introduce needed transformation.
Integrating into a pool of compatible change agents has tangible benefits. Each revolutionary’s impact is multiplied by being part of a larger, harder-to-ignore group of companions. An individual’s personal skills and gifts are exploited to maximum advantage, while the community compensates for each person’s deficiencies. Affirmation from fellow transformers leads to increased strength, and being part of a larger force builds self-confidence.
Both the cause and the individual are better off because of accountability in relation to thinking, message, behaviour, and resource use. Revolutionaries take pride in their connection to the community of fellow zealots. As in any society, it is the community to which they belong that sustains them and nurtures them through the good times and the bad. This adopted community anchors them both to reality and to the idealism to which they aspire.
More next time….