How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.Luke 6:42
Reforming Society or Usurping God
As Christians it is often easy to become discouraged by what we see when we look at the world around us. We see the hurt and pain being inflicted upon creation and a desire builds to reform the world to that which we consider to be right and good.
This well intentioned desire often leads us to criticise others, our family, our friends, our work colleagues and those within our community, when they do not meet up to the standard that we seek to maintain.
This criticism, whilst stemming from a well intentioned desire, is often an attempt to impose our standard of righteousness upon the other.
However our calling is not to change others. This is something that only God can do.
When we attempt to influence behavioural change in others we are in effect playing god. We are trying to do what only He can do. By taking the power to change our fellow man out of the hands of God and into our own we assert that man, individually or collectively, has the right to control his fellow man in order to impose his own ideals for individual or societal reform.
By attempting to reform others we are actually usurping God Himself.
We are to Transform
We are not called to reform the world, rather we are called to transform it. And that transformation begins with ourselves.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2
Societal transformation starts with the renewal of our minds. This is something that we can do by the grace of God.
And how do we do this? How do we renew our minds?
Paul gives us a clue in verse 1 of Romans 12. We are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Something needs to be laid something down. We need to give something up.
Who is on the Throne… God or You?
We need to humbly and prayerfully come before our magnificent and loving Father and consider the very first of His commandments.
We need to examine every aspect of our lives and ask God to show us where we have placed something other than Him on the throne.
Is God truly sitting on the throne of our relationships, our health, our finances, our careers… and most importantly our relationship with Him?
Where do we look when our security is threatened? Do we look to God alone? Or do we look to an institution that rejects Him… to our modern day version of Baal?
Destroying the False Idols
Once we identify those areas in our lives where we don’t have God on the throne we move to the second of the ten commandments.
We need to destroy, at all costs, that false idol in our lives.
Our God is a jealous God. It is impossible to serve two masters… we can’t live an authentic faith if we remain sitting on the fence.
This isn’t be an easy task to do. It will cause angst, sleepless nights, and some sorrowful tears as realisation dawns up how deeply imbedded our false gods really are.
But then we need to move onto the third of the ten commandments…
Trust in God or Trust in Self
Our society idolises self reliance. Men must be independent. We need to stand on our own two feet. We idolise ourselves… man independent from God.
When our security is threatened to whom do we turn? Do we turn fully to God, or do we look elsewhere?
Turning to God, in a society that is geared towards self reliance and the rejection of God, is perceived to be the risky alternative.
When we doubt God we take His Holy name in vain. We say that the false god of self reliance is stronger than He is. We deny the truthfulness of His promises.
When we uproot that false god sitting on our throne it may be a very unnerving experience. We may need to leave everything behind that we know. It may require that we make some radical changes in how we live our lives. It may require that we take a giant leap of faith into something that currently is a great unknown.
But in that all we are to uphold His glorious name. To hold on to His faithful promises. To fully trust in Him.
Entering into His Rest
Only then can we enter into the fourth commandment… to enter into His rest, His sabbath day.
Once we have entered into His rest, ceasing from all our own labours, the remaining six commandments will flow forth.
- Honouring of parents
- Respecting the sanctity of life
- No adultery
- Protecting the right of property
- No bearing false witness
- No coveting
A Transformed World
The change that we desire to see in the world around us will manifest itself. The resulting transformation will not be the result of our work – the imposition of our norms upon oithers.
Rather the transformation will be the work of the Almighty God Himself. The light shining within us. Shining out through our eyes which are the windows of our souls.