I once heard a favorite pastor of mine ask a congregation, “Is it truly possible to change, or do we simply rearrange the chairs on the deck of the Titanic?” I initially laughed at my friend’s question, but started thinking about what was being asked. To keep it in a Wesleyan perspective, do we truly change when our heart is “strangely warmed?”
There are people that I know that swear to a radical shift in ideas and focus. I know that there are people who truly experience an amazing transformation. Many come to a place in their lives where they profess that change has occurred, yet spend a rather large amount of time attempting to convince themselves that something really occurred. They boldly proclaim that Jesus is the one who has changed their hearts, yet live in doubt and fear when faced with life’s many issues.
What is the change that occurs? We can give the religious hard line answer that, “Jesus changed my life,” but how are we living like he really made an impact on our thoughts and actions? I believe that when true change occurs there is a shift in our way of thinking. I do not believe that we get a little “Jesus Juice” and start living our lives as if we are completely different people. Little by little we exchange our old world view and our reactions to it, for an approach that is life affirming and life giving.
Change is not achieved in one single moment. It takes a lifetime. I think this is what it means to move forward towards perfection (Again another Wesleyan statement). And as we continue through our journey, there is one thing that we know to be true, the God of grace will forgive us. This leads to the stumbling block to true change; accepting the gift of grace. I mean at the heart level. If we don’t accept the idea that God will love us into perfection, then are we truly changed?
I don’t want to live as if I am simply rearranging the chairs, I want to share a message of hope and love. I want to let people know that this incredible God of all things changed my heart and life; from the inside out. I want to live as one who has accepted and holds dear the notion of divine love and amazing grace. Praise be to God, who gives us the victory!