Monday, April 20, 2009

A Better World Begins With Me

Probably nobody believes the world is as good as it could or should be. We often see corrections needed in everyone but ourselves. Consider this: you cannot admire, approve, justify, or recommend in yourself what you cannot admire, approve, justify and recommend in others. There is some merit in the idea of seeing ourselves as others see us but it is not necessarily safe or valid. We need instead to see ourselves and all others as God sees us – at least as God intends us to see, measure and evaluate all things, by the standard of His word.

We can change persons and things for the better in three steps. First: Think better thoughts (Prov. 4:23, Phil. 4:8 and 2:5). Second: Aim higher, set better goals and make better plans (Phil. 3:13-17). Third: Act better. Do better things. Do not follow the world but do only what you know God will approve (Rom. 12:17, 1 Cor. 15:33).
You can actually improve the world by reminding yourself that a better world – actually a better anything in the world – begins with me/you. To change people, set them an example of what you want them to be (1 Tim. 4:12, Mt. 7:12). It will work in the family, the home as God would have it – not only in marriage, but in parenting and in sibling relationships too. It will work in the school – a competitive environment for young persons. It will work in the job or business – a competitive environment for adults. It will work in the community, the nation, and the world – law enforcement, social standards, morality, entertainment. It will work in the church too – you may have thought the church is the one place that “has it right.” Not so. Not even among us in the church of Christ. Calling oneself a Christian does not mean it is so. Wearing the name does not mean one does not have to measure up to the standards God has set for Christian people. But the point in all of these is that if any of them is going to be better, it must begin with me, with us – with any and all who want it to be better.

Why should you make things better if and when you can? First, because if you do not do it, it will probably not get done. Second, it will be better, if only to the extent that you are better. Third, simply because improvement is desirable in every person and every aspect of life. Nobody is so bad that God cannot make something good and honorable of him. And nobody is so good – so perfect – that there is no room for growth and development.

- Gerald Cowan preaches for the Dongola church of Christ in Dongola, IL. He may be contacted at

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