By Neil Cole
Today’s world needs a revolution. Not a violent one; we’ve always had plenty of those. We need a revolution that changes hearts and minds with love. That is what I believe Jesus came for. It is also what I believe he has sent us here for. And it is also what I believe the world is poised to receive.
Jesus didn’t come to earth just to change your Sunday morning routine. He came to change your life every day and in every way. The power of change is for every one of us, not just priests, pastors, and preachers. And everyone that is changed becomes a change agent.
Revolution is a form of the word revolve, and it means to turn things around. A good synonym is repent. Repentance (Greek, metanoia) means to change one’s mind. It was also used as a military term. When shouted, it commanded an about-face. It can be translated as “to turn around” or “to revolve.”
Christians should be revolutionaries. Our entire faith starts with a change of mind and a change of path to a new direction. We are new creations; old things have passed away and new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17).
The gospel itself is all about transformation—change. We should be the ones bringing a revolution of heart to the world. Instead, we spend our time debating theological stances, moral codes, and political issues. We quickly shout our offense at the world’s values and behaviors. We are people known for resisting change. How did we get here? What will it take for us to rise up again with a real revolution of love that the story of Christ truly merits?
Let’s face it: more of the same thinking will only produce more of the same activity. We need a change of mind—yesterday. We need to think and, consequently, respond differently if we hope to make any change in this world for the better.
Today’s emerging generation is fed up with an unengaged, judgmental Christianity that is afraid to get its hands dirty with real change but is more than willing to tell everyone else how bad they are.
As the church conversation has shifted from church growth to becoming missional to the world, it is imperative that the core issues of the gospel—transformation and acting out of love—infuse the discussion. Our message is good news; our presence should be good news. Because we are not good news to society, I propose that we have lost our identity and sacrificed our core message.
We have had unrealistic expectations of imposing morality without spirituality in a world that desires spirituality without morality. We are surprised that the unredeemed act like they are unredeemed, but the real shock is how the redeemed act like they are not. Shouldn’t we respond in love toward the world and not to impose our own values on others but rather live them out?
The very nature of a revolution requires that we address the reason for abandoning the status quo in favor of a better future. It requires that we not only turn away from something but also turn toward something else. The Bible often speaks of this action. It uses language such as “repent and believe” or “put off the old and put on the new.” There is a valid and important place for deconstructing the old before we reconstruct the new.
True change happens in our hearts and minds, not the halls of legislation or the electronic platform of media. There is indeed only one thing that can bring true change to this world, and that is Jesus.
One Thing: A Revolution to Change the World with Love by Neil Cole is available now. Get your copy from Amazon.com
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Neil Cole is the founder and executive director of Church Multiplication Associates, an organization that has helped catalyze the start of more than a thousand churches around the world. He is seen by many to be one of the key founders of what is known as the organic- or simple-church movement. Cole is the author or coauthor of several books, including Organic Church, Search & Rescue, and Cultivating a Life for God. He lives in Long Beach, California.