Being the Change, Bringing the Change

I once heard two quotes from Mahatma Gandhi that truly got me thinking about Christians and the way that we live our lives and exemplify Christ to those around us.

The first quote that really got me thinking is the quote, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians; they are so unlike your Christ.”  Is this what we really show the world?

Too many times I feel that we are much like this statement, we don’t show the world the example of Christ that we should.  The trouble with many so-called “Christians” today is that they are wrapped up in their own lives to see the impact they are having on those around them.  Many times we find ourselves struggling to show the world the Christ that died for us.

As Christians we are called to live our lives in the same way as Christ, living in His example in everything that we do.  The trouble with the statement that Gandhi made is the truth behind it.  Gandhi may have gotten it right, but he may have changed his mind if he had known a true Christian.

If Gandhi could see it, why can’t we? Why do we have so much trouble being like Christ?  We need to be like Christ to those around us if we want to lead them to Christ; which brings me to the second quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

For us to be the change that we want to see means that if we could exemplify the first statement, we can be the second.  If we can exemplify Christ to the world, then we are the change that we as Christians would like to see.  As Christians the change that we should want to see and want to be should be to show everyone who Christ is.  Think about the examples that He set forth in His life, the times that he stepped in and did what He wanted to see others do.

Christ led by example, and Gandhi’s biggest problem with Christians are that they are not like their Christ…and the problem with many non-Christians today is the same.  If we want to see others come to Christ we need to get out and show them Christ, we have to be what they need us to be.

I have spent the past few weeks thinking hard about these two statements, and I want to challenge you to do the same.  The truth of it all is that whether Gandhi meant it to change the world for Christ, the statements that he made can be used to help us understand what we need to do as followers of Christ.

I challenge you today to be the change you want to see by being the Christ that Gandhi never saw in other Christians.  Being Christ will change the world, because He is the best example that any of us could follow.

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Train Your Children in the Way of Christ

“But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.” – Deuteronomy 4:29-31

I have talked a lot lately about our walk with Christ and our searching for meaning in life and the need for us to share the true Gospel of Christ.  As the past couple weeks have gone by I have begun thinking of the need to share this Gospel with our children.  Whether you have children or not, this is vital!

In my years working with youth, I have seen the need for Christ in the lives of many young people.  I feel that this scripture can show us how important that it is.  Deuteronomy 4:29-31 shows us that when we seek God with our whole heart we will find Him.  For this to be true in our lives, however, we have to have a spiritual base to fall back on.

The issue with this that I have seen today is that many of our youth do not have this base because they are not being brought up in the way that instills this base in them.  Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  We must be willing to train them in this way, or we may lose them for eternity.

We can’t water down the Gospel, we must lovingly show them the truth, without wavering.  One of the problems today is that we tend to pick and choose our messages.  We, at times, tend to look over certain scripture if it causes us to feel guilt for things we need to deal with in our lives.  We cannot continue to live this way, because if we do we can keep ourselves from experiencing the true blessings of knowing Christ.  In other words, we do not want to miss out on the promise of the Lord that we will spend eternity with Him.

With this in mind, we do not want our children to miss out on this blessing either.  I urge each of you to consider this when you go about your day…what examples are others seeing in you?

If we want our children to have a base to return to, we must show them what it means to live with discipline and dedication to the Christian walk.  We must show them what the love and mercy of Christ looks like in action, not just through words.  It is best summed up by Deuteronomy 4:39-40:

“Know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”

Living in the Shadows

Let’s face it…all of us struggle with something similar to what Leah dealt with in Genesis 29…we all struggle with living in the shadow of someone else.  Whether we work with them, go to church with them, maybe they live in our home…whatever the case might be, we find ourselves struggling to get by in life because we see others who seem to have success that we think should be ours.

In Genesis 29 we see the story of Rachel and Leah, where Jacob is lobbying for a wife, and the scripture there even tells us that Rachel was more attractive than Leah in some ways. “Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was astonishingly beautiful. (v. 17)”

Leah had to learn a lesson we all tend to need to learn, that is how to deal with being in someone else’s shadow…unfortunately in the world today, no one seems to deal with that well.  We all think we should be the star…with YouTube, Facebook, and the like, we see folks more worried about destroying the other stars with their political jargon, with rants and raves, tearing others down to the point that they are made out to be the worst of the worst around us, when in reality they are simply trying to deal with some of the same struggles we all face.

Leah appears to have been gracious in her struggle, because God saw her where she was and blessed her. Look at Genesis 29:31-35: ”31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.  Then she stopped bearing.”

God saw her where she was…dealing with her struggles, and he met her there and blessed her.  When we shine as we can, whether we are the brightest start or not, we will be seen by God because we are bringing glory to HIS name, not our own.  Are you striving to simply shine the way God intended? Or, are you trying to become the next star? How are you dealing with the shadows?

Look at the words of Jesus to Nathaniel in John 1:

“47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” 48Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.””

He sees us….He knows us…He always has and always will.  Strive to shine for Him today…you were created to be you…no one else…just you.

Have Mercy

Mercy is something that has long been a key element to living the Christian life. From the scripture we see that mercy, along with grace, were afforded us on the cross when Jesus gave His life for our sins.

We, however, have lost sight of what Christ did for us today. Too many times we neglect to offer the same to others when it comes to our own lives. Many of us are quick to judge others based on circumstances and situations, but are also quick to justify our own actions if facing the same judgement from others.

Why is it that we want to be offered mercy from others but have such a hard time granting the same? Truth is, if we look at the cross, we should all be willing to have mercy on each other. Christ cleared our debt mercifully on the cross, taking our place in so we could have eternal life.

John 3:16-17 tell us of this mercy in that Christ didn’t come to condemn but to save the world. Paul tells us of mercy and grace, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4, 5 KJV).

Another verse that tells us how we should be freely giving with our mercy is found in Luke:

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 KJV)

So we see how God showed us mercy, and we also see that we are asked by Christ to also show mercy to others.

Today, I encourage you to exercise mercy to one another. Take the opportunity to look at controversy as a chance to exhibit the love and mercy that was shown to us on the cross. Let’s not be quick to judge, but quick to mercy, we may find that our merciful attitude is contagious.

Cover Songs

In the Music Business I have noticed lately that there are a number of songs out there that have been redone recently by different groups.  Some have a good quality to them, but we all know that it is hard to replace the original.

What I have realized in thinking about this is that there are many different versions of  the same song, but the original always seems to be the best copy because it has the artist’s original intentions for the song.  The original is the purest form of the song, it always seems to be the best and most preferred version for the listener…especially the listener that loves music.

That being said, there are often good cover songs out there, songs that remain pure to the artist intentions, and sometimes you will find a version that compares very closely to the original, but again, there is just something to be said about the original.

In thinking about this, however, I also realized that there is a preference for some to the first version of the song that they heard.  If a younger generation hears a song by a new artist that is a cover, but have never heard the original, sometimes they tend to prefer the version that they heard first.  Many times it tends to be the first version that is heard that becomes the one that is hard to overcome when hearing other versions….this leads me into a discussion that takes place within the church.

There are many versions of the scripture that have taken hold within the church today, and honestly, I understand the debate…but let me ask this question: Is the Word leading them to the One, True God?  This is not a debate about which scripture to use…in fact, what I want to discuss is that we are to be examples of Christ to the world…in essence, we are his cover song.

Is your life echoing the original, or have you messed with the tune and tried to make what was perfect better? Are you living a life that resembles Christ or are you trying to become a different version of Christ? There was only one version of Christ, and that version came to this earth and lived a perfect life, put it all behind him and endured a cross that was intended for you and I…and we are simply asked to live a life that resembles Him to the world.

Since we are the cover of the original, we may look and sound similar, but we are not the original…rather than trying to improve on the original, I would challenge you to try to look and sound as close to the original as you can, so that others can see the truth about who He is. The fact remains that the original was the purest form of what we are to be in this life we have on earth, and there is not a single one of us that can do it better than Him…so stop trying to form your own version of the Gospel, and live out the life that resembles the original artist. The Original was Jesus Christ Himself…do others see Christ at work in you? Or do they see you working to try and improve on Christ?

Just a thought.