Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. – Romans 12:2
Jesus called a little child to come to him. He stood the child in front of the followers. Then he said, “The truth is, you must change your thinking and become like little children. If you don’t do this, you will never enter God’s kingdom. – Matthew 18:2-3
Sunday evening, having celebrated the Reformation all weekend, I learned a short and simple – yet eloquent – lesson on exactly how God tends to implement change in and through his people in this world.
God reminded me via his most compelling and consistently persuasive means of communication – children. These particular means of grace also happen to be our grandchildren, David and Beks. They swooped in from Richmond around 4:00 in the afternoon, and they zoomed away just a few minutes after 7:00. Just a three-hour visit, but powerful all the same.
Reformation change is never in opposition to God’s fundamental purposes but to infuse new life, to de-institutionalize faith, to bring our witness up-to-date, to recalibrate our journey. God’s purpose is – still – to invite all people to walk through the door that Jesus opened, to embrace reconciliation, and to live forward from this point as followers of the Way of Jesus.
What God is up to today (and every day) in terms of reformation has to do with how we practice faith, how we communicate the good news story, and how we live together as a redeemed people. Our lives as believers interface with a constantly changing world. So, while God’s fundamental initiative of love remains constant, how we experience that love, how love compels us to respond, and who we are loving with the Jesus quality of love demands renewal and reformation and constant revitalization.
So what has this got to do with the grandchildren? Well, they always come loaded with light, creative imagination, complete authenticity, and irrepressible joy. Every day is a new day when you’re a small child, and every opportunity comes bursting with eyes-wide-open belief and unbridled possibility.
This is what we’re tapped into as God’s children! Not some religious alignment, encumbered with regulations and stipulations designed to make the appearance of holiness. Instead, we are invited to engage each new day with the wide-eyed wonder of my grandchildren, reforming in response to the massive dose of light, grace, and love.
So live already! Shine with transcendent luminosity! Love extravagantly! Be reformed by the Creator’s overwhelming goodness and the compelling adventure of living into God’s promises! Be like my grandchildren!
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.