Friday, January 17, 2014

Changed lives ......................... Parables 068

School is out but I am thinking about Chemistry. Aside from the time our class nearly blew up the lab, chemistry was generally boring; however, it has become more interesting as years go by. After all, homemakers perform chemical experiments every time they bake a cake.

Farmers are chemists these days too. They mix herbicides and pesticides to the right strength to do the job. In fact, nearly everyone is familiar with mixing ingredients together to produce some new substance that is different from what went into it originally.

A chemical that has no active properties is called inert. An agent is a substance that causes material change. A catalyst is a substance that will change the pace of a chemical reaction but itself is not affected by the change. Now for the chemistry test:

What would you call an agent that changes some other substance, one that has no power to change itself, into something just like it is, yet this first agent is not affected or changed in the experiment? - Give up?

Actually, the question is a bit tricky because it is taking words from chemistry and using them to describe a spiritual phenomenon; however, this spiritual reaction is not invisible or unobservable. When it occurs, it is more obvious than many of the changes involved in laboratory experiments. In fact, if it is not obvious, it did not even happen.

The agent that causes the change is the Lord Jesus Christ. The “substance” that is changed, but has no power to change itself, is the human spirit. (“Just as a leopard cannot change its spots, or an Ethiopian the color of its skin” ... we are not able to change our inner selves. We can whitewash the outside, but the basic nature stays the same.)

When these two, the Son of God and the spirit of man, come together in a living relationship, the first agent, the Lord, stays the same; “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Our union with Him does not affect His sinless, perfect character.

But He affects us... “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Those who believe in Him and whose spirits have become united with His Spirit are being changed into His image. (Romans 8:29)

One person changing another is not so unusual. Just think for a minute about the various people that have had an impact on your life; parents, teachers, friends, even enemies. In some way, those people have affected you, molded and shaped your character, passed to you some of their characteristics so that you now think or act in similar ways. The strength of their personality usually determines the degree of their impact.

Now think about Jesus Christ - the strength of who He is - God in human flesh. The Roman soldiers said, “No man ever talked like this man.” Nor did any man ever do the things that Jesus did: heal the sick, raise the dead, live a sinless life, die for all men, rise up from the dead, then ascend to sit at the right hand of God. He called Himself the “I Am”, the self-existing One. If our parents, friends, and other people in our lives, in all their imperfections and changeableness, can impact us, is it any wonder that intimate union with this Man can transform us completely?

In chemistry, change is the evidence of a chemical reaction. In spirituality, change is also the evidence of new life in Christ. Some people profess to belong to Christ but there is no change in them, no evidence that the Son of God has even come near them. Perhaps He has not. Others are “nice” folks, who see no need of change, so it never happens.

Still others, not satisfied, sensing that their lives are not all they should be or could be, desire change. Jesus invites these seekers into His “lab”, where He becomes the key ingredient in transforming their lives.

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