Maybe it is not our job to transform people. Maybe that is not our place. I have always been an obnoxious rule-follower and from early on I demanded justice. “Why do we have to bring lunch home for Marco? He did not go to church so we should not buy him lunch. He can eat at home.” Surely my middle-school self believed that is what it meant to get what you deserve. Good thing I was unaware of Romans 6:23. Admittedly, my lack of grace continuously humbles me as I watch God graciously provide for no reason except for the fact that He simply wants to.
We do what is right in our own eyes. We act the way we ought to act and become frustrated when others fail to meet our expectations. Recently someone asked what my biggest pet peeve is, and without hesitation, I replied with a smug look on my face, “Unreliable people.” In retrospect, I wish I could take back my answer. Essentially what I said was “I want my expectations to be met perfectly,” but I subconsciously twisted the words around to place blame on others rather than take responsibility for my poor communication skills. That’s all that it means when expectations are not met, right? We merely did a lousy job communicating our wants. Do you see? I told you I would disappoint you at one point or another and thank you, God, for the love and grace I do not deserve. Let’s move on.
Admittedly, the tendency to correct is one of the many temptations I face daily. I want people to love God and love people, but I easily forget the most important step: first, share the gospel. Get people to know Christ.
I am not nearly intelligent enough to come to this conclusion, but I was listening to a sermon that highlighted the racial reconciliation that can be seen through the Book of Acts. I was then presented with this simple recommendation: Let Jesus transform people. What would it look like if we let Jesus handle the transformation part that comes from accepting Him? When the Spirit of God moves, people are reconciled. When you embrace the Holy Spirit, you must let go of any prejudice. Look at the way God moves through Peter in Acts 10. We see Peter admit to three things:
- I am a part of a system that rejects other ethnicities.
- God has transformed this system.
- God is changing my heart.
That is how God can transform us. My Christian friends, you know exactly what I mean when I say Jesus changes everything once you accept Him as Your Lord. To understand the grace, forgiveness, and love that Christ offers though we are all sinners, that radically moves you. My non-Christian friends, surely you’ve observed this. You know it to be true. There is something different about your Christian friend in the way that they love, think, and act. The Holy Spirit has the power to transform you.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. 3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. 7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:1-15
If you’re anything like me, the temptation of pride always haunts me. I like to think I am more enlightened than others and when I give in to those thoughts, it is incredibly easy to forget the power of the Holy Spirit. I fall into the trap of thinking it is my job to correct. You see the problem with virtue-signaling is it does not actually change the hearts of those who are racist, promote murder, claim that we are unequal, and celebrate evildoings. We go to show how “woke” we are and shove the unwanted into hiding, do we not? Do you truly believe canceling someone will change their heart? Or does it just keep them from hiding their true thoughts and feelings? I have found that people are simply getting better at shutting up but that does not remove the hatred in their hearts. We live in a fallen world.
The heart is deceitful about all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
I believe it starts with sharing the gospel and letting Jesus do the rest. Let God transform people’s hearts. Knowing Christ and choosing to follow Christ, that has the power to change everything. You see the world differently. You see the Creator differently. The gospel unites us.
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us. Ephesians 2:14-17
Maybe we need to shift our focus. I know I do. Instead of starting with attempting to correct, teach, and argue, what if we start with the gospel? Maybe it begins with inviting others to learn about Jesus, and from there, we let God do the rest as we walk side-by-side reading the Bible and learning how to honor Him through our life.
Christians, I do not think we’re going to bring revival to our cities simply by telling people to change their behavior. If they do not see the meaning for God, there is a good chance they will not see the reason for following Him. Christians, what good does it do if we are more willing to boldly correct people who have never read the Bible over simply sharing why we need a Savior and why His name is Jesus? God has the power to unite us and only through Him alone. Let us bring revival through Jesus alone. In Him we find reconciliation.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Today is a beautiful day to give your life to Jesus. Every culture, every tribe, every nation, every language, you are all loved by God. Be welcomed by Jesus.