How do people change?

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.  (Romans 12:2)

One of the ways we live out mission in this world is expressing Care for others.  This means that we try to find a way to serve other people at least once a week.

But how can we show Care in the midst of a culture that can seem hostile to the saving message of Jesus Christ?  People have changed so much!

We have seen sweeping changes in our culture over the last 70 plus years, beginning with the end of WWII.  As national boundaries changed, as we saw the power of technological advances for good and for bad, we also saw people in our culture begin to question what had been basic foundations for sex, marriage, drug use, government, and the like.

To be sure, change has always occurred in cultures around the world, and that will continue to happen.  However, so much has changed so rapidly that many Christians in the Unites States are left feeling upset, helpless, and discouraged.

How does this change occur?  Change happens in individuals and in cultures from the outside in and also from the inside out.  In other words, we begin to think and feel differently about things because we hear speeches, observe social protests, read books, or listen to music.  These outside influences begin to change the way we think about life and death, sex and marriage, fear or trust in institutions, and the like.  As more people in a culture adopt new views, these view are expressed more and more frequently in the various forms of media, and become more generally accepted.  Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad.

So how should Christians respond to all the change we have seen and experienced?  There are some things we shouldn’t do:

  • We should not give in and conform to the pattern of this world. It is passing away and will not last.
  • We should not despair. Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  • We should not become filled with anger. Jesus died and rose from the dead for all, and He has sent us into the world to share the Gospel.
  • We should not be fearful. Jesus is preparing an eternal glory for us that will far outweigh our earthly struggles.

 

Then what should we do? Romans 12:2 points us in the right direction.

  • We should be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This happens when we regularly hear the Word of God, read it, meditate on it and memorize it.
  • Seeing the world through the lens of God’s Word allows us to understand God’s will.
  • Seeing Jesus interact with people in the Gospels helps us to understand how to deal with a culture. Jesus loved people deeply, but also held to God’s truth and was unwavering in speaking God’s truth, even when it cost Him.

 

Christians change by having their hearts, minds, bodies, and souls transformed by God’s living Word.  When you and I are transformed one day at a time, we are prepared to share the life changing message of Jesus, the Son of God, with others.  And that will make a difference.

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