Want to Change a Life?
Want to Change A Life?
I mean, who doesn’t, right? What kind of a dud would you have to be to say, “Nah, I think everybody in this world is ok”?
But I digress.
So, assuming that you’re not apathetic to all the hurts and harms of this world, and that you actually want your life to have a positive effect on those around you, let’s ask a better question.
How does a life change?
We can all point to symptoms in need of a cure. Help comes in many forms:
- Is the problem hunger? They can be fed.
- Is the person homeless? They can be housed.
- Is your friend lonely or hurting? You friendship can be an immediate and powerful help.
We should all do these things, and more.
But help doesn’t always equal change. This should bother us.
How is it that a life is really, actually changed?
- Help heals the body.
- Education illuminates the mind.
- Inspiration infuses the heart.
But if we peer into the deeper, root problems of humanity, we find a common denominator that threatens to overwhelm and frustrate all our earthly efforts to bring change into the world. There is a brokenness, a fatal flaw, that exists in every person. For all of the advances of technology, for all the curing of diseases, for all the dissemination of information and the multiplication of wealth, the problem of the brokenness of human hearts still persists today.
Evil exists, and it lives within the human heart.
For those of us who care to change a life, to do more than temporary good, is there any hope?
How do we fix what is actually broken deep down inside each and every individual?
We cannot. At least, we cannot do it in and of ourselves.
However, there is a great hope.
Thousands of years ago, the people of Israel were promised a Messiah who would come to heal what was truly broken.
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light.
For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”
This bright hope was made known to us 2,000 years ago. The baby born King ushered in a new era of possibility. What was once impossible was now made available by God. Jesus bridged the gap between a holy God and a dying world. Him entering into our broken world,
So how do we change a life?
We introduce people to the One who can change them from the inside out.
Remember impetuous Peter, the disciple who bumbled through many things? He also walked on water, identified Jesus as the Christ, and was instrumental in founding the Church. His life is one that was undeniably transformed by his relationship with Jesus.
Did you know that it was his brother, Andrew, who introduced Peter to Jesus?
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of these men who heard what John said and then followed Jesus. 41 Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ”).
42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”).
The instant that Peter encounters Jesus, the Messiah changes His name. Who does that? Well, apparently, God in flesh does that. I have always been fascinated by the process of transformation Peter underwent. (For a great view of this process, read the Gospel of John.)
F.F. Bruce, New Testament Scholar, has this to say about the life-changing act of Andrew bringing his brother Simon to Jesus.
Andrew, then, brought his brother to Jesus; and in later years, when Simon Peter performed such mighty works in the name of Jesus – in Jerusalem at the first Christian Pentecost, in Caesarea when the Gentiles first heard and believed the gospel, and in places much farther afield – Andrew must have recalled with deep satisfaction that day when he brought his brother and their Master together.
(The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition and Notes pg. 57)
Have you yourself come to Jesus?
Have you come close enough to know His name, His ways, and to allow Him to speak into your life? If you have, you know that the net result of giving yourself to Jesus is that you experience newness of life that is more than addition. It is more than the difference than you + Jesus. The difference Jesus makes is only described in absolutes. Dark to light. Death to life.
It is my sincere hope that you have experienced this regenerative relationship with Jesus, the Christ.
Have you then experienced the joy of introducing someone else to Him?
Bruce goes on to say, and I think we should all lean in with great anticipation…
No one can foresee, when he brings a man or woman to Jesus, what Jesus will make of that person.
(The Gospel of John: Introduction, Exposition and Notes pg. 58)
None of Peter’s friends could have predicted that this brash, intemperate fisherman would become “the rock”, the man used by God to found His church in this world. But this God of ours is in the business of resurrection and redemption. He is able to cause new life to spring forth from the most unlikely places.
Want to change a life? Introduce someone to Jesus, and watch what happens.