A Change is gonna come
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind… -Romans 12:2
The world and its evil have a way of sneaking up on us. It is very covert. Before we know it, we are filled with lust and covetousness, hate and bitterness, jealousy and envy, vengeance, and wrath. It starts from birth and spends years working on us. Evil is patient. Sin waits at the door, just waiting for one little opening (Genesis 4:7).
Just like with Adam and Eve-they saw the fruit and knew what was up. They gave the serpent just one moment of their time to get in their ears. He took that opportunity to entice them, to stir up a little lust and covetousness in them. They could be like God?! Who would not want that? Well, they ate the fruit, and the rest is history. Next came Cain and Abel. God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. Cain was filled with hate and bitterness and wrath-what else could possess someone to kill his own brother? Maybe that giant wedgie he gave me 30 years ago; it still hurts…
And on and on it went until God hit the reset button: the flood. But even after that, mankind did not waste time falling back into sin. Evil was too engrained, even in Noah’s line-the one man that God found righteous in his time. Noah’s son, Ham, sinned against his own father, finding him drunk and naked in his tent and gossiping to his brothers about it (Genesis 9:21-27).
Then man decided he would build a tower to reach up to God in His kingdom. Led by Nimrod, the mighty hunter, mankind set to work; and God put a stop to them by giving them different languages so they could no longer communicate, hence the Tower of Babel (confusion).
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? -Jeremiah 17:9
Now look where we are today. It seems that everyone had just been playing nice up until, oh, say…four years ago? Now the selfishness of man has been brought out by current events and it has led to riots, looting, increased gun violence, perversion, and hate. There is no solidarity, no unity in the United States (except maybe by the mobs who seek to destroy our government by harassing innocent people in the streets). It is right vs left, black vs white, rich vs poor. At least that is what they want you to think. Gee, sounds just like what the serpent did to Adam and Eve. He had them thinking it was them vs God.
Even the church is divided. How many denominations are there? There are Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, and the list goes on (I apologize if I overlooked your denomination of choice, I just could not think of any others at the time of this writing). They all claim to have the “right way.” It is too much. It was all about Jesus Christ crucified, killed, and resurrected. Faith alone in Christ alone is the only way.
“You must be the change you wish to see.” -Mahatma Gandhi
We must get past this. We can not go on this way. How long do we hope to last? Especially as believers in Christ, we need to see past race, economic status, political affiliation. We must see others as who they are-creations of God just as we are. We must reach out with love, grace, and mercy, despite the opposition we might have to their thoughts, feelings, or lifestyle choices. For, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
What if God looked at sinners now and said, “Too bad”? Someday He will. On the last day when judgement comes, if we are not right with the LORD, we will receive the eternal punishment. We can not sit around and wait for change to happen. We can not sit idly by hoping someone will come along and promote this revolution. You are here, I am here now…
Did Jesus say to His disciples, “Sit around and hope that one day someone will make disciples of all nations”? No. He gave the disciples the command to “go out and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Did Jesus say, “Such-and-so is the light of the world”? No. He said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). It is up to us if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ, too.
“To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.” -Winston Churchill
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
To give your life to Jesus Christ is a commitment to change. It is a commitment to give up your hate, give up your wrath, your vengeance, and replace them with love. “You shall not take vengeance on yourselves or bear a grudge against the children of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Deuteronomy 19:18).
Bearing a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies (I do not remember where I heard that, but I always took it very close to heart). We are called to love. So why do we hold hatred and contempt in our hearts? Yes, the world is full of evil and sin. It throws temptation at us all the time. And not just hate but greed and idolatry to boot. We must overcome it. Ask God right now, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Give up your idols, your lusts, your covetousness, your hate. “Put off your old self, which is corrupt through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).
Do not let this world take you down with it. And it will if you let it. Life is not fair. God never said it would be. We can not let these evil times drag us down. We can not have everything our way. We should not expect to. We are not of this world, so we must stop expecting it to cater to us. “This world is not our home, we’re just passing through” (borrowed from Tom Waits, Come on Up to the House, 1999). Do not let the world change you. If it has, recognize this and repent. Come back to God. Cling to Him. Cry out to Him to help you change. It is not us vs the world; we live with the world with the hope that we can help initiate a change for the better. We all need to take a good look at ourselves and take inventory of our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. If they do not glorify God, get in the word, pray, and seek His face. Reach out to God and He will pull you up out of this mess so you can get back in the fight-the fight for love and peace. Be renewed in your hearts and minds, for yourselves, for this world, and mainly for God.
***Dear LORD, please help us in this time. The world has had its way with us for so long, and we are hurting. We have become hateful, divisive, and selfish. This does not glorify you and it hinders our relationship with you and with Jesus Christ. Help us, LORD, to be renewed, that we might see good, that we might love one another; even those who might do us harm. Help us love them that we might help them and make them see their errors. To make them see how awesome you are and the wonderful things you do. To make them realize their need for you, too. Renew us, LORD, and help us to become clean, and righteous, and acceptable to you - to be good representatives of your kingdom on Earth. I thank you, LORD, for helping us see our own errors, to fix them, and to get back on the right path. Thank you, LORD; I pray this all in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.***