A World-Changing Faith
Someone once said that to change the world, one must begin by changing one’s self. As disciples of Jesus Christ, whose aim should be to change the world in which we live, that advice would do us much good; for me to be able to have a world-changing faith, I must begin with myself. Consider how you and I can have a truly world-changing faith.
Make A Difference At Home. If you happen to be a disciple who is married, it would be in your best interest to be the spouse you need to be in order to start making a difference. And I want to emphasize that, in this area, your behavior is not dependent on your spouse’s behavior; you must do what you must, regardless of what your husband or wife is doing.
Wives, you must be willing to follow God’s instruction to be submissive to your husband (Eph. 5:22, 23) and to respect him (Eph. 5:33), and you husbands must love your wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). As parents, you have responsibilities toward your children, and here is often the way to make more of a difference in the world than any other means. Fathers must bring up the children in God’s ways (Eph. 6:4), and both parents must be an example their children can follow (1st Cor. 11:1).
Children, you have responsibilities, too. God wants you to be obedient to your parents and to honor them at all times (Eph. 6:1, 2). Especially in this world where so many young folks do not have instruction in spiritual matters and have not been taught to respect any form of authority, here is where you can make a difference! You also have the responsibility of heeding the Lord, too – not because you think it will please your parents, but because you have taken the time to consider His revealed word and because you are convicted it is true. Do it when you are still young, and before the world draws you so far in you cannot see the truth anymore (Eccl. 12:1).
If you don’t think you can make a difference when young, consider Josiah, who as king changed the direction of his nation (2nd Kings 22, 23); consider also David who, as a youth, went out and defeated Goliath while the entire Israelite army cowered (1st Sam. 17); and consider the young maiden who told Naaman about the Israelite prophet who could heal him of his dreaded disease of leprosy (2nd Kings 5). What will you do?
Make A Difference In The Church. One of the best things you can do as a Christian is to gather with those of “like precious faith” (2nd Pet. 1:1) to worship the Lord and to remember the death of our Savior. To make a difference in the world, though, you must be a faithful member. That means you and I should not make excuses to get out of gathering with brethren to worship God and study His word, but to eagerly look forward to these opportunities (Heb. 10:23-25). If you want to make a difference and if you want a faith that can change the world, please understand that will never happen unless and until you become a faithful member of the Lord’s church – this local church – and you are here every time the doors are open. When you choose to put other things before God, you will not change the world; the world is changing you.
Being a faithful member of the Lord’s church and of this congregation also means each one of us must be rooted and grounded in the word of God (Col. 2:6, 7); we cannot be superficially tied to Him because our parents believed and obeyed, but we must be firmly convicted of the things we claim to believe and prove it by our faithful service. Faithfulness also means I must be a faithful worker in the church. There is plenty of work to be done, but are you a worker (Matt. 9:37, 38)? Dropping a check in the plate on Sunday morning is not “working.” Being a faithful worker means I must do my part, and you must do your part (Eph. 4:16). When each part in the local church is doing its share, the body will grow, but not if each part is not doing its share.
Being a faithful member of the Lord’s church or of this local church means the things that I do and say must be for the building up and strengthening of this church and each of its constituent members (1st Cor. 14:26). If I want to change the world, then I must have a faith that is willing to help others change, and to give them a positive incentive to change. If I am unwilling to help my own brethren change, and I do not lift them up, then the only change I will effect is for the worse!
Right along with our duty as members of the local church is the important task of bringing back those who have wandered from the fold, as Paul commanded (Gal. 6:1). Part of building up is putting spiritual life back in those parts of the body that have died or are on the brink. You want to make a difference in the church? Seek out those who have wandered away and bring them back! It will mean the difference between spiritual life and death (Jas. 5:19, 20)! You can make a difference in the life of one person, and it may affect generations to come!
Make A Difference Wherever You Are. It should be acknowledged that we are to live by a standard different than the majority of the world. Those who are God’s people should be recognizable as such by the way they live their lives. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that we are to live with holiness (Heb. 12:14) and Paul reminds us that we are to flee the pursuits of the world and instead pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1st Tim. 6:10, 11). Are we willing to promote this way of life as not just as another ‘alternative’ among many choices but the preferred way of life, the best choice, and the only choice for those who love God?
We are going to make little or no impact on the world around us if we are preaching one thing and living another. As we promote a higher moral standard, we better be living it! Our good deeds should be evident to all so God will be glorified (Matt. 5:16), and our godly behavior must be a motivation for observers to do the same (1st Pet. 2:11, 12). The best way we can promote godliness is to teach it and then live it. Are you willing to make a difference in the world around you by living according to that standard?
Finally, if we are to promote a higher moral standard, we must then be prepared to tell others of the context from which we find that standard: the written and revealed word of God, the Bible. Many Christians gladly speak of living according to a higher standard, but then get quiet when it comes to the rest of the gospel’s message! Why? We should be bold to speak God’s word (Eph. 6:19, 20), and we should be bold to defend it should we be challenged – and we will be challenged (1st Pet. 3:15, 16). Our efforts must not be biased, and we must not exclude any, and we must not grow weary in doing this spiritual good (Gal. 6:9, 10).
We all – as servants of the Lord – must be able to teach, with the end goal of saving souls (2nd Tim. 2:24-26). Are we willing to make a difference by being a teacher – by doing all we can do?
It is now we must ask ourselves: Do I have a faith that can change the world? If I do not, I need to get to work and be the force for change – for good.