I understand why Christians advocate for and participate in the processes of establishing laws and societal norms that honor our Heavenly Father; followers of Jesus long to live in a world that values, respects and conforms with Biblical principles and standards. But as noble as some of these efforts are, I believe many in the church of Jesus Christ are overly focused on these strategies to transform our culture.
Consider the following statements:
- You can’t change a person’s behavior by judging them.
- You can’t force another person to adopt your way of thinking.
- You can’t legislate what a person believes.
Are we, light bearers in a dark world, hoping to create a utopian society where everyone pretends to be something they aren’t. Certainly not. If that were true, the church would be nothing more than a hypocrite making machine.
Thankfully, we serve a wise and loving God. Jesus gave clear instructions regarding our primary purpose:
- Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
As tools in our Maker’s hands, we are to go throughout the world teaching (sharing and demonstrating) the truth and love of Jesus Christ and the gospel message. Some plant, some water, but only God can give life to that which is dead.
- 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
- Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Real Change starts on the inside. Externally motivated change, at its best is temporary, at its worst is insincere. The Bible contains many examples that demonstrate this reality. Here are just a few.
Rules without relationship breed rebellion.
- Judges 3:7 So the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God, and served the Baals and Asherahs.
- The Law in Israel was initiated and established by God through Moses; but the Jews still rebelled against it. The Jews didn’t have a sincere relationship with the Lord; it showed in their lifestyles and decisions.
A person’s thought life is determined by their spiritual condition.
- Romans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
- What we think about is a reflection of who we are – children of God or enemies of God. Without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, the desires of the flesh rule the mind and heart.
Public behavior doesn’t equate to personal belief.
- Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.
- The religious leaders of Jesus’ time were as legalistically compliant with the Law as they could be; but many of them had hearts of stone. External compliance is not always a sign of internal conviction.
So, as much as I appreciate the valiant efforts of those engaged in the political, legal and social arenas to represent and advocate for Biblical values, I pray that as followers of Jesus, we never forget that Real Change can only be achieved when the individuals who make up our society experience new life and new thinking in Jesus Christ.
- Colossians 3:1-2 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
- Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
- Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
- Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
- John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord,
my strength and my Redeemer.
Father, may Psalm 19:14 become the prayer and desire of all who have and will believe on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We look forward to the day we are free from sin and sorrow in Heaven with You. Have mercy on us all. In Jesus precious name I pray for the salvation of the lost. Amen.