Being different

I had an interesting conversation with some friends last week about how our culture influences Christians.

It’s an old issue, but it’s always relevant.

It began with one friend talking about television sitcoms and the underlying messages they send.  Often these messages run counter to basic Christian values.

These messages do influence us.  They affect me.  Something that would have shocked me 40 years ago no longer seems strange or unusual.

Then, one of my friends suggested we Christians are really not significantly different from non-Christians.   He has a point.

I remember reading a few years ago that the divorce rate among Christians is the same as in the rest of society.  And I recall how some of my liberal journalist friends in the distant past had a greater heart for the hurting people in society than I did.

So does Christ really make a difference?

Not surprisingly, I believe he does.

There were people in Jesus’ time who were outwardly good but did not follow him.  And there were sinful people who seized him and his message like a drowning man grabs a rope.

The issue is not whether Joe is better than Tom in my eyes.  The issue is whether I am changing as a result of Jesus working in me.

That is still a big question.  Am I changing?  And if I am not changing, why not?

There is a lot that I have done or that I still do that is wrong.  But God is changing me – gradually.  The very fact that I am not happy with certain aspects of my life is an indication that the Spirit is at work.  And I want to change.

But what do I change to? 

The rich young man in Matthew 19 was trying to meet some measureable standards – a set of rules.  He was doing well in following the rules, but he lacked one thing – he was unwilling to go the whole way and give up everything for Jesus.

I sympathize a lot with the rich young man.  There are many things I cling to.

But I believe the answer to change in my life is unwrapping my fingers from the things I cling to and giving myself  to Jesus.  I must let him have his way. 

What difference will it make if I change?

Here are a few things I can think of:

  • More joy in my relationship with God – more satisfaction.
  • A bigger heart for my family and friends.
  • A greater usefulness to God as he advances his kingdom in this world.

There are believers who have given themselves to God.  They live exciting and fruitful lives.  They are different.


2 comments so far

  1. Stephanie Douglas on

    Am enjoying your blog, Dad.

  2. Iain Woolf on

    One of the challenging quotes from Graham Cooke that I really like is “In the goodness of God, he’s always dealing with something in your life. So what is the current issue?”.
    It really brings it home to me to make it an active process.

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