Jump Start # 3213
Matthew 18:3 “and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.”
This is Thanksgiving week. It’s nearly swept away because of all the hype around Christmas. Being thankful is in the DNA of a disciple. And, this week, we want to share several aspects of thankfulness in our Jump Starts. We hope these will propel you to be thankful and maybe even share these with others and use these as starting points for family discussions and devos.
In our verse today, Jesus tells the disciples that they need to be converted. That word means to change. And, right there, something we take for granted, is what we need to be so thankful for. You and I can change. What a wonderful blessing that is. The old hardcore Calvinistic doctrine taught that only certain people could change. Only the ones that God chose could change. Unless you were one of the lucky ones, or elect, as they would formally call them, you couldn’t change. But thanks be to God that such isn’t the case. Whosoever, surely meanth me, as the hymn states.
You can change. Think about that.
First, some of us have not grown up in good homes. Maybe neglect and sin were as common as the morning breakfast cereal. Maybe angry words filled the air every day. Your home doesn’t have to be like that. You don’t have to keep the broken cycle going. You can have a home filled with Christ. You can have grace and forgiveness. Your marriage doesn’t have to be diseased and selfish. You don’t have to repeat the patterns that you have witnessed in the past. You can change.
Second, you can change your thinking. The old say, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” might be true, but you and I are not old dogs. We are made in the image of the living God. We can be kind. We can be thoughtful. We can swim against the current culture. We can be holy. We can be filled with Christ. We can be as strong spiritually as we want to be. There are no limits.
Third, we can drop old habits and create new ones. For some, lying as been a part of their life as long as they can remember. Others have been offensive and mean. Some have been lazy. Some have not had a spiritual thought in their head for a long, long time. It doesn’t have to stay that way. You can change. You can get down to the church house every time the doors are opened. You can memorize God’s word. You can get busy helping others. You can please the Lord. You don’t have to stay the way you are. You can change.
Fourth, you can change the way God sees you. This is most remarkable. We have sinned against Heaven. We have disappointed the Lord. We have let the Lord down. Every sin is a sin against God. We have chosen Satan over our Savior. We have chosen self over God. We have chosen the world over Heaven. We have chosen now over eternity. We have lived as if there was no God. But, we changed. We were converted. We can please the Lord. We can become like children who are trusting and believing.
A sad moment in our culture today is that people want to change anything and everything but their hearts. They want to change what gender they are. Before long, they’ll try to change their race. After, that, their species. Before long, someone will declare that he is a “trans-alien.” In all of this nonsense, what needs to be changed are our hearts. And, thankful to God, we can.
You can be as spiritual, positive, thoughtful and kind as you want to be. In a dark world, you can choose to be light. In a lost world, you can be saved. In a world that is confused, you can be certain. The freewill given to us by God allows all of that. We can reject the false things that we have been told. We can see ways that are not working towards Heaven and turn from them. Change, what a blessing that is. You don’t have to be wealthy to change. You don’t have to have an arm full of college degrees to change. Any of us can. All of us can.
This works not only in us, but in our families and in our congregations. Churches do not have to be lukewarm like Laodicea. They can change. Our families do not have to be negative. We can be a blessing to one another.
And, the best mechanism to change us is the word of God. Get that word deep in your heart, look at the example of Jesus and see what can take place. You’ll find yourself thinking, “I shouldn’t say that,” so you don’t. You’ll think, “I ought to pray for that person,” so, you do. And, the more and more you allow God’s word to actively work on your heart, the greater changes that will take place.
Be converted as children. I’m thankful we can do that. What a blessing!