We all want to make an impact — in our family, friend-group, city, nation, or the world.
In our youth, we're eager. As we age, our enthusiasm wanes. Nevertheless, God made our lives to matter.
And your life — your one and only, magnificently unique life — is a puff of smoke (James 4:14).
In light of such desires and urgency, we should ponder the question of making an impact.
How do we change the world?
In their book, The Leader's Journey, Herrington, Creech, and Taylor write:
“If we are to have an impact on the world, success will come from changing our own behavior. We have the most control over ourselves... The question that is hanging in the balance is, ‘Will we participate with God in embracing the transformation that must occur in each of us?’” (5, 157)
Although we're daily tempted to believe we can change others, the truth is we don't have that kind of power.
How much of our anxiety boils down to taking responsibility for people or circumstances outside of our control?
Maybe changing the world shouldn't be our goal. What if Jesus wants to change the world through transforming us.
Perhaps then, we can offer our transformed self as a gift to others.
You must Follow me
After a fish breakfast, forgiveness, reconciliation, and foretold suffering, Peter turned his eyes onto another.
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” - John 21:20-21
Peter does what we so often do. He rushes through a moment of communion with Jesus to compare himself to another. Like Peter, we forfeit communion as we compare and compete because we don't know who we are.
Jesus says, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” - John 21:22
Knowing who we are and aren't is what many nowadays call "Self-differentiation." In yesteryear, we talked about finding our "identity in Christ."
Whatever we call this process, it's ahead of us if we want to impact others for Jesus.
Like Peter, John the baptizer, or the once-persecutor-Saul-turned-Paul, we must crucify our grandiosity and ego to become our true self in Jesus (John 1:19-23; Philippians 3:1-11).
A long journey home
You can't control anyone else's thoughts, feelings, or actions. But you can grow in your capacity to think, feel, and respond more like Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23).
There's nothing easy about this. But it's good.
The journey toward maturity in Jesus feels good and right and true because it's your destination in Christ (Ephesians 4:13-14).
Do you want to change the world? Then allow Jesus to change you.
Why is it easier to focus on changing the world than on our own personal transformation?
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