Monday, October 19, 2009

Transformation of the Environment

Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy, and told him that God didn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but to be bold, loving, and sensible.
As I’ve learned in my life it’s not exactly easy to change how we are. If you have grown up an introvert then it’s almost impossible to transform yourself to be more outgoing.
But, if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that I’m talking about a total transformation all on your own power. Another lesson I’ve learned is, it’s just not possible for human beings to completely transform themselves by themselves.
Friends, remember Jesus’ words, for humans it’s impossible, but with God anything is possible. Of course he was talking about entering the Kingdom of God receiving eternal life.
All through God’s word we’ll find many instances where the environment was transformed. Some that come to mind are the stories in the Old Testament. What great lessons they are for us. These folks found that they weren’t able to do many things by their own power but when they trusted God and followed his lead wondrous things began to happen.
Just think about God’s church and how it all was made possible. It began with our ancestor, Abram, a wandering Aramean from Ur. God promised that he would be the father of a great nation even though he was childless at the time and when he was told he would have a son he and Sarai were both past childbearing age
But it happened just like God said because they trusted God. That’s how it all started.
Because these folks trusted in a God they’d never seen a great nation was created. Sure they spent some time as slaves in Egypt and then wandered in the wilderness for many years. Eventually they reached the land that God promised them. And their lives were changed. And they changed the environment all around them. They accomplished it all by trusting and relying on God’s power.
How do we tap into this power? Is it possible to transform our environment? We can receive this power. It comes to us through God’s gift of grace.
If we want this power to take hold of our lives we have to make the decision to obey God and believe that God will give us grace.
Two other gifts Paul speaks of are love and self-control. In The Message Petersen translates it as being “sensible.” As we look at the world all around us we might get the idea that there’s not much in the world that makes sense. When we pick up our magazines or watch our TV’s we see so many ads that are all about satisfying our own wants and needs. The world around us seems to be only focused on “me.” Kind of like some of us were when we left home the first time. Mom and Dad aren’t here. I can do anything I want.
Remember what it was like trying to follow the examples of Jesus when you were in college or in the military, or at your first job. Remember the looks, the comments, “You’re a Christian?” But did you ever have one of them come to talk to you when they were in deep trouble somewhere in their lives. It was different then. They trusted you because they’d seen how you conducted your life. And slowly they may have been changed.
Power and self-control will get us pretty far but none of us will achieve our goal without love. Jesus reminds us in His word that it’s all about love. We are to love God with our whole being and then to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.
Friends, Paul said it in other letters that he wrote that nothing works or is successful without love. If there is love, then power and self-control are possible and the environment where you find yourself will be transformed.
You might not be aware of it yet but this weekend has started transforming your environment. The love that has been shown to you and that you have shared has began to change things.
Carry this love home in your heart and start the transformation where God has planted you.
My brothers and sisters, God loves you and so do I.

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