Embracing positive change
…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
When I was a young lad attending primary school, I loved to play marbles and other games on the streets with my friends. It was the 1950s and few people could afford cars, consequently the streets became our playground.
Fast forward sixty plus years and the streets where I once grew up in Belfast are now full of parked cars, making it impossible for children to play street games anymore. Decades of economic and material prosperity have brought massive changes to our towns and cities.
Four years ago my wife Christine and I took a visit to Ontario, Canada, where I once spent five years of my life. In fact it had been 44 years since I had lived there, and I wasn’t quite prepared for the changes that I witnessed. My old home town of Barrie, which is located 50 miles north of Toronto, had a small population of 27,000 in 1973; today it has expanded into a small city of 153,000 inhabitants – an increase of over 500% ! We rented a VW Beetle for a week and noticed how cars had changed from the large petrol-guzzling Pontiacs and Chevrolets of the 1960s and 70s, to more economical models.
Environmental changes can sometimes be good, sometimes not so good, depending on circumstances such as where one lives and works. Our short Canadian visit brought home to me the importance of another kind of change that the bible refers to as spiritual. Peter’s inspired instruction for Christians is to ‘…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…’ (2 Peter 3:18).
This change of mind from our natural, selfish way of life to the converted, Christ-like way of outgoing concern for others, requires time to develop – Jesus taught us to “…[become] perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”(Matthew 5:48). A careful study of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) will present us with lots of spiritual material to internalise and apply.
Jesus doesn’t leave us alone to make these essential changes. He knows our inadequacy and offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower us in our spiritual walk. And thankfully His faithfulness and character does not change with passing time. (Hebrews 13:8).
Great Father in heaven, we thank you that we can totally depend on your faithfulness and direction for our lives. Help us make life changes that are pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Study by John Magowan
About the writer:
John Magowan attends the Lisburn congregation of Grace Communion International, Northern Ireland
Lisburn Grace Communion
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
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