“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth” Ephesians 1:7-10
Is it possible to change the world?
Is the world worth changing?
The answer to the first question is “No,” to the second “Yes.” People speak a great deal about changing the world today. In fact, it’s become a slogan for churches, companies and social organizations. There are books, magazines, and seminars dedicated to inspiring people to become “world changers.” We are told if we follow the right steps we can change the world with almost the same chance of success as I do in changing my own socks.
To be honest, this action is becoming more difficult as I grow older. It’s not difficult finding people desiring to change the world, the real challenge is finding even two people who agree what the world should be when it’s changed.
One person believes the world would be better without cats. Another believes the cats should stay but politicians should go. One starry-eyed individual is convinced it would be a better world if humans only ate vegetables, while the neighbor next door believes his steak would be more tender if cows were only fed vegetarians.
Agreeing on a common vision is only the first of two important dilemmas.
Recognize The Problem
Besides the obvious complication of an agreed upon vision, we must first recognize the problem. What has caused the world to go so wrong, it causes so many to want to make it right? Common sense dictates that if someone becomes ill, their first attempts at health would not include calling a lawyer or an Italian chef.
There may be a few odd people who think this path wise. But, they may find themselves served with divorce papers or a large pepperoni pizza, and still be no closer to health. The same logic holds true when seeking out a doctor who attempts to treat the patient before diagnosing the illness.
A person might find themselves arriving with a headache and coming out with one less kidney. Worse still, would be a person going in to get rid of chest pains, only to find themselves leaving with an extra head attached. Maybe the doctor in question fervently followed the ancient creed that two heads were better than one. Either way, there are two unchangeable assumptions I have when seeking the service of a doctor.
First, I am confident my doctor holds to the same definition of health as I do. And second, I am convinced my physician is able to diagnose the root problem for why I have so much difficulty putting on my socks.
What Was The Question?
Many may be so confused by what you’ve read, you’ve already forgotten the questions.
The first question was, “Is it possible to change the world?”
The answer was, “NO.” There are three reasons for this pessimistic response. First, we can’t change something that is not ours to change. Attempting to change the world is like changing the locks on my neighbor’s home. It is true my actions have brought about change, I might even like the new locks better, but it will never make the world better for my neighbor, or for myself.
This is God’s world, placed under the reign of Christ, the risen king. We live in a world so extravagant, majestic and complex it overwhelms the imagination just at a single glance. It is the epitome of arrogance to presume we can change something that was never ours to change and that we know so little about.
Second, the belief that we can change the world is like a hammer taking credit for building a cathedral. We have been created as image bearers of the Triune God. This is an honor that should fill us with gratitude, awe, and humility. As image bearers, we were called to community, cultivation, stewardship, and dominion in the earth.
It is truly a regal and majestic calling.
But, we must never forget our dominion comes with absolute dependence; our honor with humility. We are God’s creatures, dependent on Him for our very next breath. He has invited us to participate in His great work in this world. We must acknowledge that all accomplishment is by His grace alone. If we change anything, it is by His power alone. If we understand anything, it is by His wisdom alone. If we succeed in anything, it is by His goodness alone.
The Real Problem
Finally, I stated to truly change the world, we must first diagnose the root problem. Only then can we decide how to change it. The true problem with the world is not governments, philosophies, political movements, wars, corruption, or injustices. These are only the symptoms.
The true problem with the world is me!
Humanity is the reason the world needs to be changed. Political systems are not the problem, people are. Businesses are not corrupt, the people who run them are. The Apostle Paul tells us that creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of him who subjected it. (Romans 8:20)
God’s good creation was corrupted and placed in bondage by the very image bearers he created to care for it. We chose to shape the world into our own image and be our own Gods. We wanted to paint with our own colors, build our own cities to heaven, shape things into our own image. We did change the world once; it turned out a complete disaster.
If true, it’s time to answer the second question, “Is the world worth changing?” The answer is “Yes.” In spite of our sin, God in His infinite wisdom refused to scrap his original plan. By a free act of divine love, God chose to write himself into the tragic story of human rebellion. He chose to redeem by paying the penalty for sin.
He didn’t do it because we deserved it. He did it for the praise of His glory.
He became a man like the men he made. He played by His own rules, even submitting to the punishment of death. He reconciled rebels; adopted us as his own; restored our dignity as image bearers. Our advocate is not the first Adam who rebelled, but the second Adam who obeyed. Is the world worth changing?
God became flesh, lived in this world, healed the sick, turned water into wine, accepted the sinner’s sentence, overcame the power of death, sit’s enthroned, eternally interceding for his people, and waiting for every enemy to be made a footstool for his feet. I would say He think it’s worth changing!