I sometimes can get caught in the trap of looking at the world or other people in my life and thinking “there is so much going on that is wrong that there is no hope” or “this person is so wrong that there is no way I can have anything to do with them” or “it’s their fault” or “why bother, it doesn’t make a difference anyways”. Notice I said I fall into a trap here because that is exactly what it is. It is a trap or snare set by the devil to keep me from fulfilling the roles and responsibilities God has given me or to shine the Light that He has placed in my heart. It is a trap and if we fall into looking outside of ourselves for positive change, or to fix others, or locate the source of the problems in our lives as we “lead” or “shepherd”; then we will be wrong, disappointed, and ineffective.
If positive change is going to happen in my relationships…my workplace…my home…my church…that change has to happen in my life. It is easy to see the flaws, faults, and failures of others but God calls me to see mine first. The word of God is likened to a mirror in James 1:23-25. As I look into the Word, I see myself as I truly am…I see my true self in God’s mirror.
The Word of God exposes me and I am naked and open before Him (Hebrews 4:12-13). Along with Peter I can say “I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8) and the heart and the words of the Prodigal Son will be my own “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight” (Luke 15:18).
The Word shows me my flaws, faults, and failures but it also shows the forgiveness available in Christ Jesus! My Savior offers me refreshing spiritually through His blood. Through God’s Word I see a different way…His way…and I repent or change my mind and how I live and in that, God changes my heart: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
I am then in a position to lead if I am quick to deal with my own sins before I seek to correct another (Matthew 7:1-5). But if I think myself to be something, when I am nothing, I deceive myself (Galatians 6:3). If I want to be in a position to influence another and before I ever think about it, I must honestly examine myself (Galatians 6:4).
Think about Peter in John 21. Jesus is restoring him, giving him purpose and though Peter is hearing Jesus…he is in part thinking about John. Jesus tells him to forget about John for now…focus on Me and what I have for you to do and I will take care of your brother. Like Peter, we must respond to Jesus call to “follow Me”. That is our part. That is our job.
In that, I must be honest about what I see (James 1:24). I must trust in GOD to mold me and make me into the image of Christ (Jeremiah 18:4; Romans 8:29). I then can be the change that will result in the glorification of GOD, the edification of the body, and the growth of the family of GOD.
With this mindset, together, we can “excel still more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1), if individually we proclaim, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Each of us committed to being the change that we want to see in the world and we will then be in a position to lead and make a difference…and let God work from the inside out.