When is the last time you really sat and thought about “change”? Do you want the world to change? Do you want a political, religious, or social ideology to change? Or do you simply wish the restaurant closest to your home would change their menu? It seems we can all sit down and have a serious conversation about the “things” that we wish would “change.” Have we ever considered that when we hold onto what we wish would change, we may be doubting what we as Christians would call “God’s love”? Let me explain.
When Jesus spoke intimately to his disciples, he told them that “apart” from him (severed from him) “we can do nothing” (John 15:5). The context of the passage is speaking of one who is “bearing fruit” through “abiding” in Jesus. What does it mean to bear fruit? Have you ever considered that it may mean we have to change? Change what, you may ask…the answer is everything must change. This brings us to the word “abiding.” What if we used the words “depended on,” or “believes in,” or “intimately relates with and trusts” in place of the word abide? That political or social or ideological reality that is driving us crazy must be experienced in this life as we “abide in Jesus.”
Have we ever considered that change for us as humans means that we must learn something that we don’t already know, accept it, and then apply it in our lives; in other words, we “change”? Or we must accept that what we thought was right may not be right at all. So, we must unlearn while we learn something new. All of this happens as we abide in Jesus.
Let’s take it further. If he stated that we can do nothing unless we abide in him, could it be the ideas about change mentioned above actually cannot happen according to God’s will in our lives unless we relate to, trust, believe, depend on completely, with all our heart and mind, in the abiding relating of Jesus? This may be the case.
So, as we think about the changes we wish to see in others and in the world, let us be reminded that they too, those “other” people, can do nothing unless they are abiding in Jesus. And, we have no control on when the “light bulb” comes on in another’s life. Accepting this reality may be the hardest thing we have to accept and change in this life.
PRAYER: Lord, give me the faith to believe that you are in charge and intimately wanting all to be saved. Even the ones I fear, and I believe to be the enemy. Let your love dwell in me, Holy Spirit, because I accept that if I don’t trust that your will is based in love, I can do nothing.
By Mark Mounts, Pastor