Change Your Life
Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you. Acts 7:3
Growing up with a pastor for a dad, I heard Bible stories from a young age. I remember thinking that those people in the Bible had it easy. I mean, if God just showed up as a blinding light or spoke in an audible voice, I’m sure I would listen too. No one would say no to a messenger from heaven, would they? As a kid, I knew that if God clearly commanded something specific, that I would absolutely be obedient. But, as I grew up, with no audible voice from heaven to guide me, I simply followed my way. If God had some radical plan for me, he’d have to let me know in an obvious way.
Later, as I spiraled into addiction, and as my behavior became more and more self-destructive, I asked God for help. He told me to radically change my life. I didn’t hear an audible voice from heaven, but there was no mistaking his message or meaning. If I wanted faith, life, and recovery, I was going to have to radically obey, living a very different life than the one I’d been living.
This is what God commanded Abraham in today’s passage – Change your entire life. Abraham didn’t have a drug addiction, but God did ask him to leave behind everything he knew – family, home, and friends – to go do something completely foreign to him. I’m no Abraham, but I now have a little more sympathy for him than I did before my drug addiction. I previously thought that a specific, clear command directly from God would make it easy to obey. I no longer think that. Changing your life is hard, no matter what.
The mistake is to think that this is something God only asks of certain people, like those guys in the Bible. It’s true of course, that God doesn’t ask everyone to move away and abandon their family. God does ask all of us though, to radically change our lives when we come to faith. Faith means believing in God, and then living out that belief by turning from our old way of living – following ourselves – so we may follow God. Transformation isn’t just for Bible heroes and addicts. It’s for anyone who desires to know new life in Christ.