At Colorado State University is a sign with a quote from Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi:
We all want to see changes in the world, and Gandhi is correct when he notes that such change stems from transformation within individuals. But he needs to take two steps backward.
First, what changes do we really want to see? It seems like every time we try to introduce a new idea or system, that unintended consequences make things worse than before. So we need wisdom to know what changes to make.
Where does such wisdom come from?
Psalm 111 states:
1 Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly. 2 Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them. 3 Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. 4 He has made His wonders to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and compassionate. 5 He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. 6 He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the heritage of the nations. 7 The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure. 8 They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness. 9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.
Notice that God is the Master Designer and Creator. He has demonstrated his wisdom and power. He has proven credentials, expert knowledge.
He also cares for us, both in the sense of having our best interests in mind, and also providing for our needs. Therefore we can trust Him.
And God desires truth, justice, and righteousness, the same types of concerns that Gandhi had. James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the church in Jerusalem stated, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 (NIV)
When we fear/respect God and his infinite knowledge of what is true and right, then we can determine the kind of change we should really wish to see in the world. We need to study His Word and follow the commandments He has given us for our own protection.
An example of the application of such wisdom occurs in 1 Chronicles 12. King Saul had disobeyed God, so God chose David to replace him. After Saul was killed in battle, warriors from the various tribes gathered to crown David and to celebrate their new ruler: “Now these are the numbers of the divisions equipped for war, who came to David at Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD . . . the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do. . . .” 1 Chronicles 12:23, 32. The men of the tribe of Issachar knew that the security of Israel was threatened on many sides, so the nation needed a strong king, chosen by God, a man after God’s own heart, to lead them. We also need godly leaders who can take us in the direction of change that God desires.
Second, we need help to change ourselves. I don’t know if you have ever tried to lose weight or quit smoking. Sometimes the start of the process seems easy enough, but I just can’t hang in for the long haul.
I need a coach, someone who knows me better than I know myself. That person is God. In order for each of us to start this mentoring relationship, we need to ask Him. Revelation 3:20 says that Jesus is knocking on the door of our lives. If we open the door and ask Him in, He will enter and start to guide us where we need to go and show us what to do.
Then we need power from the outside to help us. I have proven repeatedly I can’t do it on my own. Probably you have too.
Jesus promises to give us the power we need to accomplish the work He has given us. This power comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in those who have started this relationship with Him. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
This is power with a purpose: to change the world.