Now it’s time to find where the rubber meets the road. We are now going to see the practical application of everything we have learned. In our culture, today there is a tension—a balance between two opposing elements that we continually face. On the one hand, we see the need for change—change ourselves: we want to be slimmer, tanner, better dressed, more “in style,” better looking, have more money, be happier, and more satisfied. The media puts out the propaganda and we buy it. We buy it because deep inside we want to change. The desire to change for the better is something all of us have.
On the other hand, there is a real hesitancy, even fear, to change. Do you see the conflict? We want to change . . . yet we are hesitant to change. How frustrating! We are uncomfortable with the uncertainties that change may bring. As one pessimist has said, “Any change at any time for any reason is to be deplored.” That sounds like the old saying:
my status is quo.
Here’s something I found a long time ago. It is a letter from Martin Van Buren, the then Governor of New York, to President Andrew Jackson, dated January 31, 1829:
The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as railroads. The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons.
One, if boats are supplanted by railroads, serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for horses.
Two, boat builders would suffer and towline, whip, and harness makers would be left destitute.
Three, canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war.
As you may well know, Mr. President, railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by engines which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.
Martin Van Buren
Governor of New York
Well, nobody could accuse Van Buren of being a visionary. At this writing it is at the end of 2011 and we have witnessed massive changes in our own nation (the United States), where our Government now owns and operates its own companies—and is attempting to controld 1/3rd of our economy. Throughout the world we have witnessed Nations being tumbled and new Governments being put in power. In fact, we could say that 2011 has been the most tumultuous time in the history of the world!
The reality is that change isn’t just inevitable, it is very much needed. So why do we resist change so passionately? Could it be that we are afraid that change will make us more unhappy with our situation than we are today?
The Bible does talk about this need for change that lives within us. It actually gives us the prescription that will get the job done. It is not for a miracle cream to hide all our blemishes. In fact, the medicine may surprise you—not because it tastes bad; it’s worse than that. In order to make you better, this medicine will have to kill you first—and you will have to swallow this medicine down completely!
So as we go through the remaining chapters, we are going to examine the changes that we must make as His Kingdom is being formed within us.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome