The world changed completely with the arrival of Jesus, and ultimately will end with Jesus too. But the real question is, what lies between those two points? In order for positive change to happen now, shouldn’t we first make sure we have been changed ourselves?
The fact is, we can’t bring positive change to the world if we ourselves have not first been changed. There’s a popular saying: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” To us, that means being like Jesus. Throughout Scripture we see that we are called to be like Jesus, we are called to be the difference, and that will make the world look a little bit more like Him. As Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Until Jesus returns with a major disruption in every day life, we are called to “be the change.”
Our world often relies on a sense of comfort and stability; change is the last thing most people want to think about. Research shows millions fear change. It even has a name – neophobia, or the fear of new things. Yes, it’s a real phobia, and yes, it says a lot about human nature. But the danger is that when we cave to our fears and avoid change, we get so comfortable where we are that we ignore the very new things God has initiated to get us where we are heading in life. Sure, we can all dream of things we would like to change about the world, about ourselves, but we are scared to be the ones to step out and do it – be it. When the excuses, “I’m not ready for that” or “I’m just not called to do that” come out of our mouths, that could be a sign of neophobia.
It has been said, “Partial obedience is disobedience.” And I believe that to be true. If we are truly living like Jesus, then why are we still doing ‘that’ (insert sin here)? Why are we refusing to change our ways, when change is what we need most? We cannot go about our lives half-hearting our walk with God, in hopes that He will give us a full-heart transformation. Since we don’t automatically have a nature like Jesus’, and constantly have to deal with our human failings, we must accept that to be more like Him, we will have to change.
What does it even mean to live like Jesus? The phrase “live like Jesus” means so many things, and if we put it into practice, it will cause a change in us of immeasurable depth. Yet so many of us are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, only hoping we are living like Him.
C.S. Lewis had this to say: “To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus is you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing those things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
God never intended us to remain the same, but instead to remain faithful – to take His advice. For in remaining faithful, we will not remain the same.
There is incredible hope in this. You can be different than you were. You can break the mold of your family’s past. You can be different from what everyone else has labeled you. You are made in God’s image, for His will. And no human opinion can get in the way of a God-given destination.
Stop listening to the foolish lies of this world, and start appreciating and accepting the truth of God’s Word and the freedom that comes with it. I am sure you have encountered flaws, failures, and mistakes in your life. But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with them, or that you have to stay that way. They don’t need to define you. In fact, if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ, you are called to overcome these very things. This does not mean you will find perfection, but you will undoubtedly find progression on the path of righteousness.
Just because it’s how you grew up, doesn’t mean it’s how you should stay. With Christ comes renewal and a new way of living.
Scripture confirms this hope:
Ezekiel 36:26 “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”