Normally, when we think of making improvements, our minds turn to action. We ask ourselves questions like, “What can I do to become better?” But in the question itself lies the real secret to improvement, which explains why so many fall short in their attempts at doing better. In other words, improvement at anything is more an aspect of being than it is of doing. Work on the “becoming” part and the “doing” part gets remarkably easier.
This principle applies to all of life, and to all of faith. Think about it this way: our understanding of faith begins with the admission that we are sinners. We are incapable in our own power of doing all that God has given us to do. Consequently, our natures require a transformation of grace so that we become in effect “new creations” (2 Cor. 5:17). Altering our souls is a work far beyond our capacity; the changes that make for a better life are ones that God alone can bring about as we trust our life to Him.
One of my favorite stories in this regard is that of Zacchaeus, the “wee little man” who one day climbed up a sycamore tree “for the Lord he wanted to see.” Chances are that we first learned the story from the children’s song that speaks to the new day that came to a pitiful soul because of how he welcomed Jesus to his home. Luke’s account, however, elaborates on the radical nature of the change Jesus brought about in Zacchaeus’ life (Luke 19:1-10). Not even the religious leaders who were witnesses to the experience could believe their eyes, locked in as they were to the primacy of doing. That’s why when Zacchaeus basked in the blessing of Jesus’ presence, he only then could be moved to an act of remarkable repentance: “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I will restore it unto him fourfold!” There’s no way Zacchaeus would have ever made it to such a place in life if he had not first made the decision to welcome Jesus into his life.
Is there a place in your life where you need to welcome Jesus more? How about those places you know need some help? How might those places become better ones and your ability to live in them better as well simply because Jesus occupies them too?
One thing is certain: Jesus will not barge into any of them. He may take the initiative with you, even as he did with Zacchaeus, but he will not force you to do anything. You must invite him to enter in. When you do, your life will be changed for the better, and it will be changed in that way for all eternity. Inviting Jesus into your life is, without question, not only the best thing you can do. Ultimately, it is also the best thing you can be.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20).