Minggu, 26 Juli 2015

Has a Relationship With Jesus Changed You?

Has a Relationship With Jesus Changed You? (Writer's Opinion)
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – July 26, 2015) --  “But Christ has shown me that what I once thought was valuable is worthless. Nothing is as wonderful as knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have given up everything else and count it all as garbage. All I want is Christ”— Philippians 3:7-8 (CEV).
“While world changes, who will change me?” This headline on a recent opinion piece by an area pastor grabbed my attention. Opening his article, the pastor said, “I am a public follower of Jesus. I am only being honest when I admit my growing unease and sense of helplessness as cultural norms drift away from Christian standards.”
With hot-button issues like same-sex marriage and transgender celebrities, many Christians fear where our country is headed. As the author of the article says, “I find myself struggling for some meaningful way to respond to these changes in a manner that best honors the person I profess to serve. How can I, as a Christ-follower, respond like Christ when I disagree with the direction of our culture?”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be concerned about our country’s direction. However, if we are to respond as Jesus would, we must know Him intimately.
Practicing the Presence of God book coverCiting a passage from Brother Lawrence’s book, “The Practice of the Presence of God,” the pastor said, “Lawrence lived in an obscure 17th century European monastery, but his reflections on God have captured the attention of many since, including me. Lawrence’s biographer Joseph de Beaufort used 10 words to describe his friend Lawrence: ‘His love for Jesus Christ changed him into another man.’”
What the pastor said next in his opinion piece should make all Christians reconsider what our cultural changes mean in light of Jesus’ teachings. He said, “If my love for Jesus Christ changed me into another person
• I believe I would be bold enough to disagree with people without the need to dislike them.
• I would find myself more inclined to have compassion on individuals rather than to condemn them over an issue.
• My fear of change would be arrested by my faith that God has all things well in hand.”
While admitting he hasn’t completely been transformed by Christ, the pastor said he is moving in that direction—albeit slowly. When the Apostle Paul referred to this process, he said in Ephesians 4:13 (CEV), “This will continue until we are ... mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.”
Commenting on the end of his life, the pastor added, “One day I will choose the inscription for my tombstone. I think it wise to wait until later in life to make a final decision. But if I were to make the call today, one line serves as a summation for what I want my life to look like once all is said and done. But more than wishing for these words to be inscribed on granite, I want them to be engraved on my character: ‘His love for Jesus Christ changed him into another man.’”
Has your relationship with Christ changed you? Has it prepared you to deal with the changes in today’s culture?
Photo captions: 1) Book cover. 2) Carol Round.
Carol Round portrait useI always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to visit my blog at www.carolaround.com  or email me at carol@carolaround.com.
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