Change You Can Believe In

Everybody wants change. People want the way the city and the country is governed to change and people want changes in their churches. President Obama won the presidency on the slogan “change you can believe in” and currently every political candidate of every party in America is promising change. Many Christians and churches are actively campaigning for change in the country. There is no question that things need to change, but the question is how is that change going to be achieved and by whom?

Everybody expects change to come from the top. The President and the Pastor must change the country and the church. And if they can’t do it, then we need to get the right man in the job that will make the changes we need. But the truth is that leaders cannot bring about change when the people refuse to change.

Moses was the greatest spiritual and the greatest political leader of all time but in spite of all his gifts, skills and anointing could not get the people to change from a nation of fearful slaves to a victorious people of God. This left God with only one option and that was to destroy that whole generation. It is no different today. Even if Moses came back as the leader of this nation or of your church, he would not be able to make the people change if they did not change themselves.

The leader is not the people. The Pastor is not the church and the President is not the nation. The ability and desire to change lies with each individual and change in the church and the country will not come until we, the people, begin to change.

The first five chapters of Isaiah reflect the political situation in many countries and the spiritual situation in many churches today. Judah was filled with corruption, sin, materialism, immorality, addictions, arrogance, hedonism and a perversion of justice. Isaiah saw that and had as much to say about it as we have to say about our society. Six times Isaiah pronounces woe on the sin and the sinners but in chapter six something dramatic happens. Isaiah saw the Lord and he saw himself in comparison to God. This time his response is “Woe is me, for I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5). Isaiah finally understood that it was about his own imperfections and problems first, and that change for the nation had to start within his own heart and life.

That’s the problem. It is so easy to blame everyone else and to enumerate the nation and the church’s problems, but we often fail to recognize our personal problems and that change has to begin with each one of us.

We want the Ten Commandments written in stone in the court house, but it is not written in our hearts. In fact, we can’t even recite them! We lash out about the impact that Islam is having on our society but we have done nothing to impact our community with true Christianity.

We will picket against abortion clinics but will use the same clinics when our licentiousness bears fruit. We are angry about the 4,000 babies that are aborted every day in America (and we should be). But no one cares about the millions of spiritual babes that never come to be born again and are aborted because of the stumbling blocks and hostile environment they find amongst Christians and in churches.

We protest against same-sex “marriage”, yet our own marriages are a mess. We complain about homosexuals and their rising visibility and influence. But we are not an example to our children of what a godly man and woman looks like. We emasculate men and smile when boys are effeminate and fathers are either brutes or wimps and we wonder why boys become homosexual. Men do not know the meaning of true love and they do not take responsibility to be leaders in their homes and yet wonder why girls grow up to hate men and love women.

Everyone is frustrated about corruption, pork barrels and special deals in government yet we bribe our children and spouses when we have not done the right thing or we bribe them to get them to do the right thing. We show favoritism to children, church members and others and at the same time we blame the government for favoring special interest groups and for nepotism. We complain about the government bailing out big business when big business deserved to crash. At the same time we bail our children out every time they paint themselves into a financial corner.

Very few Christians read the Bible and pray regularly and even fewer read the Bible and pray with their children. Yet those same people are angry about the removal of prayer and the Bible from schools.

Everyone is perturbed by the rising national debt and the inability of the government to curb expenditure when their personal credit is maxed out and their own greed drives them to spend more than they earn.

Many complain about the removal of the cross from public places but very very few live a crucified life. This is the problem. It is much easier to lobby, picket, protest and blame others for the very problems we are not willing to fix in our own lives. We can have a cross on every street corner, but until Christians, individually, learn what it means to take up their cross daily, nothing will change. Like the fornicating, drunken celebrity who wears a cross around their neck, so Christians think that architectural crosses will cover the nation and church’s backsliding and sin. But it does not.

Many Christians want revival in their church and complain about the state of the church, but they themselves are cold and far from God. The same people who complain that the church does not grow, never bring an unbeliever to hear the Gospel, let alone witness to anyone. Some Christians wonder why the meetings are not full, but they themselves miss meetings for any excuse. People complain that the worship is dead but they themselves do not sing with all their heart and never open their mouth to say a few words to praise the Lord.

Christians complain about the lack of love in the church, but they themselves will not go out of their way to show love to others. Every church has a group of people who wish they could have a better pastor, but they never pray for God to anoint him and make him better.

You see we all think that if we can get different leaders in the church and in the nation that things will change. They will not. Change begins with you and me. If every Christian in your church suddenly began to serve the Lord the way He should be served, revival will break out in your church, in spite of the pastor. When Christians in this nation begin to be true, real Bible Christians instead of the fakes most are, the nation will change, no matter who is in power.

Change begins with you, personally. That is the only area you have jurisdiction and control over. When you change, your spouse will change and your children will change. When you change your church will change and when the church changes, it will begin to impact the community and eventually the nation. Jesus said we should begin in Jerusalem, then Judea and then Samaria and then the rest of the world (Acts 1:8), but we want to begin in Washington, London or Pretoria and then work back. It does not work that way. Change begins with me and you.

Peter – just one man, changed (John 21) and then the twelve changed; that spread to 120, and eventually to 3,000, and then another 5,000, and soon the whole world was being affected by the Christians (Acts 17:6).

Every nation in the world desperately needs change and so do most churches. But the change will never come from the top down. True change starts in your heart. Won’t you begin that change today? Yes, we need the Lord’s help, but He is not going to force-feed you. He has sent you this message and it is up to you to take the next step and respond to Him.