On Sunday we’re kicking off a new series: Eight Words to Change Your Family. The eight words are vision, love, forgiveness, truth, church, commitment, serving, and honor. What strikes me about this series is that all eight of these words carry tremendous power for change. But, by themselves they’re either not enough or too much.
What I mean by that is some of these words, like church, vision, and serving are not enough by themselves to really affect the kind of lasting change we’re all looking for in this world. The other words: love, forgiveness, truth, commitment, and honor are too much for us to handle. We cannot love enough, forgive enough, be committed enough, have enough honor, or proclaim enough truth for these words to drive the kind of lasting change our families so desperately need.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these words are unimportant. They all can be powerful agents of change in our families if and when they point back to the one word that is really the only word that can affect lasting and deep change in our families: Jesus. Jesus is the only One who can bring about the change we desire and need. He is the only One who can make that change last because when Jesus changes, He changes at the heart level.
So often Christians get hung up on behavioral modification. Unfortunately, behavioral modification by itself is powerless to save and rarely lasts. Jesus taught us this when He ripped the Pharisees a new one by calling out their outward behavior modification, but total neglect of the heart. He told them if they really wanted to be clean, they needed to be clean on the inside first, and then the outside would become clean over time (Matthew 23:25-26).
As Pastors Jeff and Brian open the Scriptures for us over the next eight Sundays, my challenge to you and prayer for us all is to ask God to show us how each of these eight words points and leads to Jesus. Let’s find a fresh vision of Jesus. Let’s love like Jesus loves; forgive because through Jesus we are forgiven; exalt Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life; belong to the church, which is the Body of Christ on this earth; show commitment to living out the Gospel in our families; engage in serving as Jesus served; and live to honor the name of Christ. May He be the One Word who can change our families at the heart level.