You don’t have to look very far to see that our world is shaking under tremendous pressures–economic, political, social (human undertakings); famines, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis (acts of nature). Over the years much has been written and sung about changing our world; however, one look around today and it doesn’t appear much has happened to change it in a more positive direction. Of course, we have no control over acts of nature, but we do have more control over human undertakings. Still, it’s a daunting task when surveying the landscape of the world and the human turmoil taking place in so many nations.
While we as individuals cannot change the massive human problems facing our generation around the globe, we can change the world around us in which we live everyday on an individual basis starting with ourselves. In Romans 12 the Apostle Paul spoke about how we should live by no longer being conformed to the pattern of this world (e.g. our culture) but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2) and that we should not think of ourselves more highly then we ought, but rather think of ourselves with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given to each of us (verse 3). Also he mentions that our love for each other much be sincere; and that we must hate what is evil and cling to what is good. We should be devoted to one another and honor one another, and that we should be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer and share with others who are in need. Also, we should practice hospitality (Rom. 12:9-13). The Message Bible states those verses ((12:1-3 & 9-13) like this:
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
9-10Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.
11-13Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”
Our focus should first be on God and then on others. More and more I am convinced that we change the world by how we live as Christians and how we respond to God and to others in any circumstance. The Bible is full of instructions on how to live for God and for others and provides many, many examples of people who lived out this life in Christ and the impact it had on their world then and is still having on our world today.
It has been interesting and quite challenging to live through these past three-plus years since I landed in Houston in late September 2008 to start that job that has ended up leaving me unemployed for all of this time. However, in the midst of some great challenges and major loss (I lost most of my possessions when I moved back to Florida from Houston) not to mention the financial challenges that comes from being unemployed, I can feel the weight of eternity in what I have learned through this time of great trial in my life. I think we get so caught up and busy in our own little piece of the world that we forget the larger world beyond us and that life really goes way beyond us and has an eternal perspective. By losing my job and being forced to look beyond my own circumstances and seek God with all of my heart instead of the little piece of my heart I gave Him when I was working and living in my own little world, my relationship with the Lord has vastly changed and improved and my view of the world has been expanded far beyond what I could have ever imagined. Many of my previous blog posts tell of this adventure, and I can honestly say that while I would never have asked for this particular experience (unemployment and loss) to be a part of my life, I wouldn’t trade the experience for all that I’ve learned about Jesus Christ and how He has transformed my life during this time.
So, how can we change our world? By allowing Jesus Christ to transform our lives through a vital relationship with Him on a daily basis which in turn will change how we respond to people and situations as we come into contact with them on a daily basis. When we become more joyful, more content, more hopeful, more kind, more loving, more accepting of others, helping others in need, steering clear of evil, and loving what is good and right, we can transform the world around and within us. And as Romans 12:18 states–“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone”–just think of how doing that one thing would immediately transform our environment. That’s one I really want to learn to put into practice in 2012. Well, peace and love. We can never forget love. As I Cor. 13: 4-7 MSG states:
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
We are bankrupt without love (I know I am). So, for those of you, like me, who grew up in the 60’s (the “peace and love” generation), we’re back to the basics of where we started from; however, the power to give real peace and love to others comes from having a vital relationship with Jesus Christ.
And that’s the best way I know how to change our world.
YouTube Video: “Change The World” by Eric Clapton:
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