It is all too easy to sit back and complain about the way things are going in today’s world. We read article after article about how less and less people are going to church, how less and less hold Christian values, and how the world is more full of turmoil and strife than ever before. We can complain about gas prices, crime, injustice, global warming, politicians, and bad schools all day, but usually that’s all we ever do: complain and hope for change. I have bad news for those who only complain: it will not get better unless you are willing to make uncomfortable changes and mobilize those around you to do the same.
I’d like to talk for a few moments on how change really happens. Why do things change, for good or for bad? How do we create good change? What does the Bible say about change? Are we powerless to change things or is there a God designed blueprint for changing your life and your world for the better? There are ten key points I would like to submit to you that will make all the difference in how your life turns out.
- For good change to occur, we must be willing to change, no matter how hard it will be to change. The Bible is full of stories of godly men and women who forsook their normal everyday lives to pursue God’s plan. It was not easy; they lost families, they lost homes, they lost jobs, and many ultimately lost their lives to be who God wanted them to be. They had to be willing to leave home, be laughed at, beaten, and rejected. Yet it was these men and women who changed the world. Are we really willing to do the same?
- We must not hold anything back from God. We must clear any distraction that stands between us and Him. This may be your favorite TV show or that friend you grew up with. What if God told you to give up that shiny new car? What if he wants you to live in a foreign country? Are you willing?
- We must embrace new ways of doing things. We cannot expect different results doing the same things over and over. What worked in 1952 will often not work today. The only constant is God’s Word; that will stand the test of time. Everything else is simply a preference or a methodology and stubbornly clinging to those will see the Church marginalized to being a group of nostalgic traditionalists with little to offer. When looking at the “good old days”, be prepared to notice that they might not have been so “good” after all.
- Many times, the old ways of doing things are the cause of modern day problems. Why do we have division in the Church? It’s often because someone in the past decided stubbornly arguing over minor details was a better path than seeking unity. Why do our young people put their faith in false religions or no religion at all? It’s because they saw a Church more concerned with building bigger and bigger buildings or with criticizing the length of people’s hair than with addressing questions of eternal importance.
- There is a difference between a godly foundational truth and a preference. Don’t be so insistent on a musical style or what right church attire is that you miss what really matters: the condition of your heart. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best on Sunday but your best is filthy rags when you show up to church in a spirit of arrogance or apathy.
- A spirit of love must be at the heart of change. When asked why something should change, many people respond “Because something is wrong”. That should only be part of our answer; the rest of it should be “because God has a better plan and out of love for Him and others, things must change.” The world has seen enough Christian hate to the point where we are known more for what we are against than what we are for. When the world truly sees Christians as a loving group presenting real hope, churches will not be able to contain the crowds.
- We must work together for change. Gone must be the days where denominations rail against each other over small doctrinal details. Gone must be the days when I view the church down the street as a competitor and not a teammate. Gone must be the days where I criticize fellow workers in Christ behind their backs. I must appreciate diversity in the Body of Christ and pursue every opportunity to work together.
- Stand for God’s truth, no matter what the culture says. God’s Word of hope stands as a safety net for the world today. Every cause we fight for must have a firm biblical foundation. Meditate on the Word and let God reveal to you what is on His heart. God loves the world so much. He poured out his blood for us all. Never forget that in the midst of our busy schedules. The cross and the empty grave are our biggest causes. Rally the world to those and everything else will begin to fall in place.
- Don’t forsake wise counsel. We need protection from making rash decisions that will have wide-reaching consequences. Standing united with those of a like mind in an atmosphere of prayer will guard against foolish or hasty choices. Also, conversely, wise counsel will spur you to quick action when you are hesitant or afraid of making big decisions.
10. Go big or go home. God wants to see massive change in this world. He does not like the rampant murder, drug abuse, materialism, corruption, and immorality going on today (or in any past era). We cannot afford to make minor incremental changes; too many souls lie in the balance. We must develop plans and strategies on a global scale that glorify Him while reaching everyone on this planet.
I will not be silent and let the devil destroy this generation. I will not be distracted by minor issues. I will wield the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and cut through the deception that blinds people from seeing God’s magnificent gift of Jesus and His wonderful plan to give their lives true purpose. I am a Christian and not ashamed of His gospel. I will not reach the end of my life and wonder what could have been. We must make our lives count by letting His Spirit flows through us to bring healing to the nations!