Don’t Try to Change the World

 

Sometimes we discount the story God has given to us.  We look at the saints in the Bible and wonder what is God doing with me?  I’m just a homemaker, a working mom, a single parent, a college student, etc.  I’m not close to God like Abraham or David or Paul.  Too many times we have heard that we need to go out and change the world!  Well, I have learned that I cannot change the whole world.  My one little life will not affect the entire planet.  It won’t.  But then, I think about Jesus.  Jesus’ death and resurrection is the one event in history that has affected the whole world.  Still, Jesus himself did not focus on the whole world.  He spent his entire life in one tiny country.  He focused on one people group and spent most of his time with 12 individuals.  We don’t have to reach the whole world.  We don’t have to reach our whole nation.  We don’t even have to reach our whole state. How about we focus on the person or the people right in front of us every day?  How about we speak to that person about what God is doing in our lives?

 

A month or so ago, I had a difficult decision to make.  I agonized over it, prayed, read the Word, talked to my most trusted advisers, prayed some more.  At the end of a week, I knew what God was asking me to do and I did not want to do it.  I cried and asked if there was some other way, but He was firm.  This thing must be done.  I am a person who avoids confrontation and conflict at all costs.  I have even been willing to ignore the truth to avoid conflict.  God would not let me do that this time.  So, I talked to my son.  He is 8 years old.  I told him that I had to do something that is very difficult, that sometimes doing the right thing is hard and sometimes terrifying.  Just because it was right and for our best did not make it easy or fun.  I asked him to pray for me because I did not want to obey Jesus in this situation.  We talked about how obedience is not always fun.  He prayed for me.  I went and did what I needed to do that day.  When I returned, I told him that Jesus was faithful.  He walked with me through this very difficult situation.  Jesus gave me peace and the ability to speak the truth in a conflict even though what I really wanted to do was run away.  I told him that Jesus gives us courage and strength when we have none.  

 

I did not reach the world with this one act of bravery.  I did not influence the nation or even my city.  But I did influence one very important individual, my son.  He saw an example that following Jesus is not always easy.  He saw that even when it is not easy, it is still possible.  He saw a heart that was willing to follow God even when she didn’t want to.  Sometimes doing what is right is the most difficult thing to do.  This world makes it easy to do the wrong things, to avoid doing the right ones, to do selfish things, and to go along with mediocre things.  What God really wants, though, is for his people to have some unction, some grit, some determination to do what is best, what is excellent, what is praiseworthy, what is honest, what is true, regardless of the price.  

 

Just as He asks us to do things that require sacrifice, God asked the Old Testament kings of Israel to do something difficult, something that would take a long time, something that would require much determination.  If you have your Bible, look with me at Deuteronomy 17:18-19.  I will be quoting from the English Standard Version, “And when he [the king] sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests.  And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them”.  God asked each king to write his own personal copy of the law.  How many of Israel’s kings do you think did this?  How many of them took the time to go to the priests and meticulously copy every word of “this law”?  I wonder if “this law” refers to the book of Deuteronomy only or if it should be understood in the more general sense of all the books of Moses, that is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy?  I tend to lean toward the latter, but either way, how many kings had the determination to sit down and copy in his own hand the whole thing?  How many hours did it take?  How many interruptions tried to distract the king from this task?  Did any of them complete this task?  Perhaps, David did.  Maybe Solomon.  I would wager that more kings skipped this part of their duties, considering it more of a suggestion than a command.  If you remember your English classes, this sentence is not a suggestion.  It is written in a strong imperative.  The command is clear; “he SHALL write for himself”.  Moses was very clear about what the Lord expected from any king.  Put yourself in a world where the only books are handwritten ones.  If the only way you could get a copy of the Bible was to write it with your own hand, would you do it?  Take a moment and be honest with yourself.  Would you spend hours and hours pouring over the Scriptures meticulously copying and checking your writing for accuracy?  Perhaps that is too hypothetical.  Since you do not have to write your own copy, how much time to give yourself to read and study it?

 

One of the purposes of my life is to study and know the Word of God.  It is my passion.  I have taken the time to write several books of the Bible in my own hand, so I would like to challenge you: the next time you study a Bible book one verse at a time, take a few minutes to write the verses out.  You may see things in the Scriptures that you have never seen before.  Writing it by hand, forces us to slow down and notice every word, every phrase, every punctuation mark.  Letting the verses soak in more slowly changes me in ways that I never knew could happen.  After taking the time to write the Scriptures, I am willing to do the hard things, the daily things, the things that require self-discipline and patience.  Writing the words of Scripture strengthens the spirit and restores the soul.  Take some time to listen quietly to the Holy Spirit as you grab your favorite pen and copy the words of God.  Let the Lord show you the one person you need to influence.
 

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