Real change does not begin with the left. Real change does not begin with the right. Real change does not begin from the top down. Real change does not begin from the bottom up. Real change begins from the inside out.
Real change in society is a result of real change in individuals, and real change in individuals occurs when they repent from sin and cry out for the Lord Jesus Christ. Therein they receive the indwelling Holy Spirit who regenerates man’s depraved nature (cf. Romans 8:9, Acts 1:8, Galatians 5:22).
That being the case, I invite you to review your understanding of how we may most effectively change a nation. With the increasing focus on the upcoming elections, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that politics is the source of ultimate cultural change. As important as elections are, the believer should not forget what the Scriptures say about this subject.
If believers are God’s agents of both eternal and present cultural change (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20 and Matthew 5:13-15), what then must characterize every believer — and especially a believer holding public office — for God to use him or her powerfully and demonstrably to transform a nation?
Scripture reveals at least three specific criteria that must be evident in God’s people in order for them to effectuate positive, real change. These intriguing points are examined in this week’s Bible study. Before you read the study, here is a summary of those points:
First, a nation is changed in proportion to believers’ functionality.
The Scriptures repeatedly make a connection between the behavior of the believer and the conversion of the sinner. Notice that this point is made in 1 Peter 2:9-14: “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
Note the direct connection between the behavior of the believer and the conversion of the unregenerate. If the believer’s lifestyle is commensurate with godliness, the non-believer will take note and be influenced positively for Christ. (“The day of visitation” is Peter’s way of referencing Christ’s eventual judgment of every individual.) This passage unmistakably teaches that the conversion of the lost is in some ways related to the character of the conduit.
The second criterion is this: A nation is changed not only in relation to the functionality of believers, but in proportion to their faithfulness.
Matthew 25:14-30 records Jesus’ parable of the talents. In this analogy, a master gives each of his three servants a sum of money (talents) to invest. To the two who were faithful, who made a return on their master’s investment, the master exclaims in verse 21, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.”
This parable provides a keen insight into how we can expand our influence in society, or better, what criteria God uses in determining whether or not to expand our influence. Are you faithful to utilize the few things God has already given you in terms of your time, talent and treasure? Don’t expect him to elevate your leadership and influence in greater ways if you are not maximizing what he has already given you.
The third criterion is that a nation is changed in proportion to believers’ focus.
A believer who functions in ways commensurate with who he is in Christ (point No. 1), and who is faithful with what God has already given him (point No. 2), need also be intently focused on God’s specific purpose(s) for his life!
In order to effectuate real change in the here and now, he must, in addition to being functional and faithful, know what the will of God is for his life — and focus on it! Ephesians 5:15-17 states, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Most of the will of the Lord for our lives is already revealed in Scripture. For example, Scripture tells us that God wants everyone to repent and trust in Christ for their salvation; further, the will of God as revealed in Scripture is that everyone follow his precepts and glorify him. This passage proclaims that it is foolish to live in a way that is not understanding or obedient to what the will of the Lord is.
The degree to which the believer concerns himself with the will of God as already revealed in the Scriptures determines the degree to which God will use that believer for his purposes — and reveal more specifically and intimately his individual calling to him.
Are you functioning, faithful and focused?
Changing a nation has less to do with political involvement than it does with living a life in day-to-day intimacy with Christ. Concentrate on that and then see what he does with your life to change culture (cf. Matthew 6:33)!
Whereas politics reflects a culture, obedience to Jesus revolutionizes a nation. The bedrock of real change is the transformation of hearts from the inside out.
Additional biblical insights related to the above three points are provided in this week’s Bible study, “Does Real Change Begin with the Left or the Right?,” as taught in our House, Senate and former White House Cabinet member D.C. Bible studies.
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Reporting by The Western Journal.