A Relationship with Jesus Effects Real Change

by Pastor Dan

Some recent conversations have sparked in me some thoughts to share this month.  At a very early age, I was told by my grandfather that God had given me a deductive mind.  The older I get, the more I believe it to be true, but it often leaves me troubled as I look at the world around me.  Let’s talk about the word “deductive” for a moment.  To me, it’s looking at a problem and going through a series of steps or processes to arrive at a solution.  This process is a great thing, but it only works effectively when that solution is applied to fix the problem.  My responsibilities in life have been filled with this type of thinking, whether it is fixing things or helping and encouraging people.  In many conversations about this issue, people will use the words “common sense.”  I often struggle to see the value of deductive thinking if we get to the end of the process and either refuse to find and implement a solution or circle back around and complain about the problem.  This is very ineffective and counterintuitive, yet I have watched and listened to progressive thinking in our world today and believe this is what is happening.
            The Apostle Paul was sharing with the Philippians about his life and purpose when he said, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-15) 
            The biggest change I have observed in people I work with over the years is to acknowledge the past, forgive, and embrace what the future has.  This is the process that Paul is talking about as well.  External laws may provide some benefit to relieve a symptom in our society, but nothing replaces God’s law written on our hearts to help effect change.  It is my humble opinion that we are attempting to enact laws in hope of providing solutions to our problems without addressing the heart of the matter.  Programs that provide self-awareness can be wonderful if solutions can be applied to help change, but if it is just so that we are aware of a need, flaw, or injustice, it cannot in and of itself produce change.  Paul says: I am going to apply forgiveness to my life and allow it to change me from the inside out.  This is a big statement for Paul who, at one time in his life, was a murderer. Now the very people he tried to kill were the ones he was trying to help. 
            I believe deeply that the solution to our problem as a society is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Is everyone going to accept that?  No.  We were created with free choice.  Do I pray and hope more people do accept that?  Yes.  Is there more change that can happen from those who already say they believe?  Absolutely!  Paul wrote these words to Titus: “Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.” Titus 3:14 
            I still believe the solution to our problems is Jesus Christ, and the best way to apply Jesus in our world today is through people.  Progressive thinking in our world today is constantly looking at the past with no real and effective solution.  Progressive thinking for a Jesus Christ believer is transformation of the heart and mind and to serve God and share with others to see that same transformation happen in them.  Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ, let’s get to the heart of the matter for real change solutions.
-Pastor Dan