“To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” (Titus 1:15)
It seems that God has a different approach to dealing with life’s problems to us. We tend to work on the principle that if we jut tweak the circumstances then everything will be peachy.
You just need a perfect bank balance, perfect health, perfect family, perfect teeth… then you get perfect people. Right?
Dead flat wrong.
God says: “The problem is not around you but inside you.” It’s like a doctor treating the wound but not noticing the infection. The problem is beneath the surface. Jesus said to the Pharisees –and to every religious fundamentalist who took up their mantle- “You make the cup clean on the outside but the inside you are full of dirt.”
And once you get the inside right, the outside follows.
The verse above suggests an astonishing principle, that, in a sense: Everyone is the creator of their own world. You see life out of who you are, inside.A rotten apple is disgusting to me but delightful to a worm. Why is that? Because our natures are different, so we see things differently. To the generous all things are rosy, to the tightfisted everything is suspicious! We all wear spectacles, you see – You know that expression: rose-coloured spectacles- we each look at the world in a way determined by the tint of the spectacles that we wear.
She looks at the river and says “Time like an ever-rolling stream” and I look and say: “Look at that rusty bicycle!”
We’re two people. We see things differently, depending on what’s inside us. Even our moods create changes. Get up on the wrong side of bed and you groan and sulk all day. Get up in love and you bounce for joy: “Hark the merry sparrow!” Your heart paints your world for weddings or funerals, depending on your disposition.
And your “heart” actually creates the difference.
Now, some go through life like Uriah Heep, finding deceit and treachery all around them. Some look negatively, critically, almost obsessed with finding the downside to everything that comes into view. It’s a worrying faculty because I’m truly convinced that you unerringly detect the vice with which you’re most familiar!
So watch out, all you hypocrisy-spotters, all you heresy-hunters….
Love, on the other hand, “keeps no record of wrongs”! It “hopes all things, believes all things.” It believes the best of the world around it.
Now I’m not saying “It’s all in the mind” or that there’s no such thing as evil. Just that there is a spark of God in every heart that responds to God. The “light that lightens everyone” is coming into the world and it cannot be overcome by darkness. And when you see God’s world aright, things come into a pattern of rightness, but when your life is disordered and conflicted, everything seems out of joint.
The same world that Ecclesastes described as “Vain…empty…meaningless” God pronounced “very good.” What makes the difference? The difference lies within. The world you complain of as corrupt and impure, as meaningless, is not God’s world, but YOUR world.
But the opposite is true too. A pure heart changes those around it. I’ve seen it in my life with my wife and even more so in my life with my Jesus. Jesus gathered people around him and they were changed in the process. He gave them new names like the promise of a new nature. Zaccheus spends half an hour with him and is radically –financially- transformed! When Jesus is lifted up, he draws people to himself. This principle runs through life.
Even in you. Even in me.
So ultimately, we do not need a new world, we need new hearts. And 2 Cor 5:17 nails it: “If anyone is in Christ then he’s a new creation!”
Brand new. Slate clean.
And it changes the world.