What three words would they be? ” What three words would cause a fundamental change in who you are?
For more than 2000 years Christianity has been at the epicenter of life change. Sure, there were times the church coasted on power. Caricatures dominated the landscape. Yet, the reason the church has the growth and the power it has is because of the life change that happens. What the church has lost recently is because of the failure of lives not changing.
So what are those three words? I want to lay out three words to change your life. Maybe they already have. Maybe they will.
Hebrews 11:1 reads:
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
I would say that “faith” is belief in action. It is at the core of what has made Christianity and changed lives.
Remember the story of Thomas in the Bible? After Jesus came back from the dead the rest of the disciples saw him but Thomas did not. When Thomas heard the story of the resurrection he had serious questions.
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” -John 20:25 (NIV)
Thomas had honest doubts about the fact of the resurrection. A week later Jesus showed up. Jesus revealed himself and Thomas believed. Jesus did not scold Thomas but he did have this to say about faith and belief:
“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” -John 20:29
Even for the disciples of Jesus who walked and talked with him belief is important. I think for each of us we must come to a point where we choose to believe. We choose to believe that Jesus is who he says he was. We choose to believe in God. We choose to believe in his word.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” -Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
Every great athlete has a coach and training partners. Every recovery program has a small group of people encouraging each other. Every weight loss group meets in small groups. Do you get a theme here?
People have their lives transformed and shaped by those who are closest to them.
I love what the writer to the Hebrews reminds us of:
“not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)
It’s easy to get out of the habit of a group. It’s comfortable to spend time with your family, your friends, and your regular habits. Yet, it is often our friends, family, and regular habits that are shipwrecking us .
In fact often our attempts to build our life on friends, family, and habits are the exact opposite of what God wants.
Remember the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis? God had just told mankind to spread out over the whole earth. And a few chapters later mankind finds a great plain and attempts to build a great tower. They want to make a name for themselves and build a community that won’t be forgotten.
God takes note of this construction and he says this:
“If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”-Genesis 10:6 (NIV)
Now it’s not because God was afraid. God was simply aware of the wicked capacity of mankind. Remember just a few chapters earlier and Genesis 7 God send a flood over the entire planet because of the wickedness of man.
The result of the story of the Tower of Babel is God sending confusion. Mankind spread all over the earth. God knew that if they built their community on their own power and abilities they would descend to depravity.
I think that God wants you and I to belong to a community of believers. Do you belong to a community of men and women sold out for their faith in God. To belong to a small group of people who will see us and encourage us in the right path. To belong to a community of people building their life’s not on their own capacity but on the power of God.
The simplicity of this point belies the power. God wants you and I to become men and women whose lives are transformed for the better. Story after story in the New Testament reveal individuals who encountered Jesus and changed.
I love the story of Matthew the tax collector. He had everything! Power, significance, and money were his. Yet Jesus called him by name and that call changed his life. He went from making a lot of money to making a big dent on the world for God.
He followed Jesus for three years. Then he dedicated the rest of his life to the Gospel. We have one of the most significant gospels for Jews because of Matthew.
When I look at Matthew I see a man who chose to believe in Jesus and chose to belong to the followers of Jesus. The result of these two choices lead to him becoming a man who would participate in the changing of the world.
I believe you and I have this same capacity. I believe that God wants you and I to become men and women who will live transformed lives.
I believe these three words have the ability to change anyone’s life. They point you to the one who created life. They give you the opportunity to walk down the path he has laid out. You and I have the opportunity to choose to believe. We have the opportunity to belong to a community of believers. We have the opportunity to experience life transformation!
What would you choose?