[ Extracted and edited from D2Y2 Magazine – Volume 1 Issue 6, May 1999 ]
I would like to draw a spiritual truth, who we are on the inside is far more important than who we are on the outside. We need to pay more attention to our character than to our charisma.
Too many of us are putting too much focus on the outside and we are missing God’s purposes, the Bible supports this when it teaches us that “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7).
The Scriptures above show us that it is God’s desire for us to have a new heart and a new spirit. To put it plainly, He wants us to get a new attitude. In other words, He demands change in our lives.
Last year’s change won’t suffice for what God has planned for next year. We must be willing to change as we are led by God’s Spirit. For failure to do so will result in stunted growth, various complications, great losses and many heartaches.
There are many who cry out to God, “Change the world, the government, the leaders, the system, the people, the church, my husband, my wife, my parents, my kids…” and the list goes on and on. But God keeps crying back, “You change!” There is nothing God cannot do with, for and through a man who is willing to change. Change and the whole world changes with you. Have you tried that lately?
It is important before change can take place that we admit the need for change. Too many people find difficulty in changing, though they were convicted to do so, because they couldn’t see or refuse to admit that their “change-less-ness” has or will destroy their lives.
No one goes for a cancer operation until and unless he knows that he has cancer. Ever heard of one who went just for fun?! Similarly, we change because we know that the state of “change-less-ness” in our lives has the ability to destroy both us and those we love.
Change and the whole world changes with you.
I have had the opportunity to speak to many ex-army officials as well as their children. Their open and honest sharing enlightens me on the subject of change. These soldiers were trained for war and disciplined in the strictest military way. Their army ways often put them at very uncomfortable situations with their spouses and their children. “Dad was an army man you know … so we seldom got any hugs and stuff.”
Though this is not true with all army parents, it is true that we become who we were brought up to be and become stiff-neck in our ways, unprepared to change until something drastic happens. We need to be long-sighted as well as honest if we want God to move mightily in and through our lives.
The second reason why people refuse to change is because change is inconvenient. When you get caught in a traffic jam like the one in Ampang every morning and evening for 5 days a week, you would welcome any change that the government would plan to ease the congestion.
When they do start work however, the normal two-lane you have been travelling on becomes a one lane thus making traffic even worse than before. You start cursing and swearing, telling yourself or the people beside you, how inefficient the government is and how foolish the road planners are. Sometimes external pressures and displeasures have a way of showing us the true condition of our hearts and what it is that really needs to be changed.
You wish the change never took place. You wish to go back to the usual two-lane road that you have been accustomed to all these years. But that isn‘t going to happen. The master builders know exactly what they have planned. For the good of the motorists, they are determined to finish what they have started. A year later, when they open the new, wide and beautiful highway, travelling to work takes a whole new meaning.
Change is a work of God in partnership with man.
We need to realise that sometimes change can make things seem worse, at least for a little while. But if change was made in obedience to a conviction from God, then we must believe that the Master Builder of our lives knows what He is doing and that He will make all things beautiful in His time.
We also need to understand that change cannot be a sole act of man if it was to be real and lasting. Change is a work of God in partnership with man. It is He who will give us a new heart and a new spirit. We just need to be open, humble and willing. Trust me, there is no feeling like the feeling of becoming a new man and God is offering you just that – today.
D2Y2, which stands for Don’t Despise Your Youth, was an official Asian Youth Ambassador (AYA) magazine birthed out in the late 90s. The printed materials communicated dynamic and effective encouragement to and from the Church, with special emphasis on the knowledge and experiences of our Christian youths, which we believe the content is still relevant and applicable in this current generation.