To receive God's vision is to embrace change

To receive God's vision is to embrace change


++  The difference between conforming to man’s tradition and being led by divine vision  ++


John the Baptist’s “repent” message, and Jesus beginning His ministry with the same words, called people to change — to turn around their thinking and believing. Any true vision for growth will echo this.

Where church leans more to an ordered religious and dogmatic expression, Jesus’ call to change and be changed has become an institutional pressure to conform.

Whatever the tradition or stream, whether it is about candles and recited liturgy, or preaching and Bible study, the tradition exerts its own pull.

But Jesus didn’t come to further His Jewish tradition. Nor did He come to start a new one. He began, and still leads, a movement that is organic, with life in itself to grow and reproduce.

Jesus wants people to be part of Him — by Him and His values becoming a part of them. This brings a deep spiritual change. This was the change that John and the earlier OT prophets proclaimed.

This change is a spiritual shift of allegiance that brings inner transformation. However it is noticeable to others — and attractive as well.

That is the difference between adopting a religion, and spiritually receiving the Person who can change us from within.

Why do we so easily swap ‘conform’ for change? Unless we have experienced that change, that new life, ourselves — we don’t have a story to share with others.

What we have instead is much more like a select and settled club, than a restless band of explorers.

We often read in the OT and the gospels that the Lord is “going ahead of us”. Heavenly vision challenges us to see a picture beyond the present.

With awareness of the Holy Spirit, we get this. But dry religion, with its rules and repetitions, can too easily overlook that essential spiritual part that reveals God, who is Spirit, in ways beyond intellect or senses.

Without the Holy Spirit, who Jesus also called the Helper, we are left to try to do better by rule and by rote. That doesn’t actually change us at all. It just leaves us struggling to conform.


Bible refs. Deuteronomy 31:8, 2 Samuel 5:23, Mark 16:7