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The Change We Really Need

    We kept hearing during the presidential campaign the mantra of change – not a small attraction for those who were fed up with the current state of things, and a common call to youthful idealism.  And now we are getting a glimpse of what that change will be – all three branches of government controlled by the same party, an administration comprised largely of previous and liberal politicians, and an approach to ruling that has a definite socialist bent.

     The change we really need, however, is of a different sort.  It is not political per se, but it will affect one’s views on politics.  It is not financial, although it will put us in the right concerning money.  And it is not ideological, but it will direct our thinking as to how things ought to be.  The real change required to make our lives and our country better is one of the heart, and it is referred to in the Bible as repentance.

     Repentance in the holy writ is really twofold.  In one testament it means to change course, go a different direction, change your behavior.  In the other, written in the Greek language, it denotes  a change of mind, a change of thinking.  And both meanings indicate moving away from one thing, and toward another.

     “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” were among the first words of Jesus the Christ.  Before him, the prophet John the Baptist was saying the same thing.  And Jesus, upon sending out his first missionaries, instructed them to preach the exact message.  All throughout the the Bible, and especially the New Testament, and right to the very end, this message is repeated, both to Christians and the Church, and to those outside the church.

     It is a message we all need to hear once again.

     The apostle Paul, speaking in Athens at the time, told his audience that God was now commanding all men to repent, because he had appointed a day on which they would be judged.  The point being that, regardless of whether we agree or not, there is forthcoming a judgment, whereupon we all shall give account of ourselves to God.  A good reason, I believe, to make sure our heads and our hearts are in the right place.

     But it isn’t just future judgment we should be concerned about – and this is what I am aiming at.  It is our present situation that warrants our attention.  Call it what you may, but the current financial crisis could well be a clarion call to us to make a drastic change – a change as to where we put our trust, whose drum beat we march to, and where our affections lie.

     The change the Bible calls for is one in which we shun our reliance upon ourselves, our elected officials, and the almighty dollar, and direct it instead to the living God – the God who has told us in the Bible how we ought to live, and who says with longing in his heart, “repent or perish.”  It is a change were we leave our worthless idols of money, material goods, and false security, and turn instead to the One to Whom our forefathers went in times of trouble, and Who gave us all these things to begin with.

    Indeed, unless we heed the call to go back to our roots – and I mean our Christian roots, I fear our going forward, that we shall have to learn our lesson the hard way.  And it will be very, very hard.

For Openers. . .

Those of us who are Christians – and many non-Christians for that matter – make the mistake that we have God pegged, all figured out; that we know what He is going to do and when He is going to do it and how He is going to get it done.  What foolishness!  Even the apostle Paul did not presume to know fully the mind and ways of God.  So should we?

This is what Paul concludes after he has just laid out God’s extrordinary plan for His people Israel:

“O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)!  And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!  For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has (Iever) been His counselor?  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things (For all things originate with Him, and come from Him, all things live through Him and all things center in and tend to consumate and to end in Him).  To Him be glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36, Amplified).

This puts things in perspective.  While I firmly believe a person can know the will of God for his or her life, I have also learned from experience that we don’t always get it right, we don’t always get full disclosure, it doesn’t always play out the way we think it will.  Ultimately, God knows precisely what He is going to do, when and how – and He’s not necessarily obligated to tell us!  Our job is to trust Him.

September 2022