To conclude our series on Poverty & Justice, we now celebrate that God’s Kingdom extends to us, and through us, to powerfully address global issues. As we consider how we can be part of the change, Romans 12:1-2 provides some practical steps to live out what we’ve learned. It says,
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.” (MSG).
When we get to the heart of the matter, we discover that being part of the change requires a posture of humility. When Paul says to “take your everyday, ordinary life…and place it before God as an offering,” He is calling us to surrender. Humility is birthed when we come to God with empty hands. Change can’t begin with us. It has to begin with God. We can only offer ourselves up to God and allow Him to transform our hearts, minds, and everyday lives. And then, from this inner renewal, we can begin to be part of the change.
Humility awakens us to our corporate call as citizens of the world. Our individual lives have impact. From our consumption habits to our driving habits, our daily decisions impact those around us. While it may be difficult to see how our actions shape culture, commerce, and people’s lives around the world, we must recognize that with every dollar we spend, we are voting for the kind of future world we want to have. Afterall God created us to be stewards of the earth. It gives us a purpose in life and the responsibility to choose the good, the just and the Christ-centered things in our world.
Okay, but how do we bring transformation?
Real, life-changing, culture-shaping transformation only occurs by the power of God. How do we tap into this power? Very simply. Following Paul’s instructions, we are to fix our attention on God. We become what we behold. As we pay attention to God’s character, His ways, and His love we begin to change from the inside out. It truly is a miracle, and the heart of the Gospel. The good news is that God does the work in us as we make ourselves available to Him. It’s the presence of God that changes us. Pastor Jon Tyson asserts, “When you read the Bible, the presence of God and seeking God through prayer are the definitive factors that change people and change cities. That’s it.” All throughout Scripture, you see that those who encountered God, received His power, and brought the Kingdom to their small part of the earth. Ordinary people like Moses, Daniel or the disciples had a powerful preserving influence both on the people of God and the surrounding culture.
It may feel like small potatoes to consider that our individual, daily gazing at Jesus could actually have global impact. But never underestimate the power of a transformed life. Only a transformed life invites God’s presence into every place they enter, listens and leans in so they can join in what the Holy Spirit is up to, and lives out their convictions with enduring and informed passion.
So how can I live out my passion?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines passion as an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling. It is often this strong and barely controllable emotion that leads someone to action. Passion that is uninformed has the potential to cause destruction. Passion can mislead and deceive us. Hence, passion, on its own, is not enough. We need to inform our passion.
Informed passion requires a learning posture. It couples action with thought. It pairs a response with wisdom. Paul insists that if we are to readily recognize what God wants from us, we do so from a place of maturity. True maturity comes from looking to the example of Jesus. There is no age requirement. When we consider the suffering and death of Jesus, we recognize that Jesus engaged with the deepest issues of humanity. He addressed them at an individual level with great love. He addressed them at the macro level with great endurance, and He met the greatest need of humanity by being willing to offer up His life.
If we join Jesus in his restorative work, we will also suffer. There are no simple solutions. But we need not live in fear. As we inform our passion with both an understanding of the world and the truth that Jesus has already won, we can endure the cost, loss, discomfort, and the long road of love as we join Him in shaping culture with creativity and care. We can live with enduring passion knowing that God is already at work restoring His Kingdom. His purposes will prevail. And we have the opportunity to humbly, attentively, and passionately be a part of it.
- To be part of the change, in which of the three areas – posture of humility, the power of the Gospel, and enduring and informed passion – am I sensing the need for personal growth and exploration?
- What is one practical way in which I can grow in this area?
- Is there something God has placed in my heart to do or join?
- What steps can I take to move forward in obedience?
At JustUs, we invite you into a lifelong journey of humble walking, attentive listening, and a passionate pursuit of bringing God’s Kingdom into your everyday, ordinary life. This is where change truly begins.
 Comer, John Mark. Interview with Jon Tyson. This Cultural Moment. Podcast audio. May 28, 2019. https://thisculturalmoment.podbean.com/e/an-interview-with-jon-tyson-from-nyc/