Richard Dawson, 18 May 2016

What can really change a person? What has changed you? Have you been changed by an experience—perhaps a bad experience—a betrayal, an insult, a loss, an injury? Many things appear to change us but do they really? Or do they simply reveal what is in us already? Many people believe that once the ’die is cast’ humans do not change. They stay good or bad, honest or dishonest, sad or glad, lazy or hard working. This kind of prejudice is as prevalent today as it was in Jesus’ times when, children, women, the poor, Samaritans and Gentiles in general were all considered highly suspicious and devoid of character by Jesus’ own people. Do we look at people with such an attitude? I suspect we do. I suspect many in our society look with great suspicion on refugees, people of a different race or religion, the poor and those who’ve been in trouble with the law. The Bible is convinced people can change but the ‘change-agent’ is not something within them. Rather it is the work of the Holy Spirit when we give ourselves to Jesus. In Christ we find the greatest change-agent of them all for He is the one who can give us new life. Malcolm Muggeridge the former left wing journalist who found Jesus later in life came to understand this because he was turned from a Christian-hating writer to a Christ-honouring one after a significant meeting with Christ. Of this he said ‘I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus.’ When we truly meet Jesus we cannot help but be changed and, indeed, one of the best descriptions of the Christian life is that it is the desire and attempt to live all life in the company of Christ—to be continually meeting Him. And this is possible not as we try to do it but as we cry out to God for this privilege.

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