Change, Hearts, and Lives, oh my!

Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh on

Simplicity, I believe, is the best way to approach most anything. As much as I like to delve into the great mysteries of religion, science, and most anything else I can find a good book or documentary on, when it comes to relating truth, I believe simplicity gets the job done best. And the Gospel of Mark starts Jesus’ ministry off with a simple message, one that I think gets lost in the noise of our screaming ideas in the religious marketplace. The message is a series of simple statements:

  • Here comes God’s kingdom.
  • Change your hearts.
  • Change your lives.
  • Put your trust in the good news of these three ideas.

Here comes God’s kingdom. Jesus, I believe, is saying there is a change in the way we see God and respond to God, and it starts here and now. I believe Jesus is declaring this new kingdom (really a kin-dom), is one we later find to be of the Spirit of God. It is one of service and sacrifice for others, one born out of the idea that we are called to care for the forgotten, love the unlovable, and set self-interest aside for the good of others. This new kin-dom is at odds with the Roman Empire, at odds with the religious establishment, and at odds with many philosophical ideas of the day. And yet, Jesus declares it is coming and coming now.

Change your hearts. This is the call to change the way your feel and think. Most of us are quite self-involved and that’s really a natural thing. We are hardwired to want to be safe, to know or feel like we know everything is controlled, predictable, and well within our grasp. The call to change our hearts is a call to alter that self-involved thinking and align it with the kin-dom thinking Jesus is teaching. It is changing the way we see the people and culture around us and aligning our perspective with that of Jesus.

Change your lives. If we change our mindset to a kin-dom mindset, we have to change our actions to match. A changed mind that doesn’t respond with changed actions is dissociated to use a psychological term. It is a person with two minds at odds with one another. We can only say we have truly changed our hearts when our lives and the way we live reflect the changed mind in an outward way. If both heart and life do not line up, the change is partial and incomplete, the self is split, broken, and still in need of healing. 

Put your trust in the good news of these three ideas. Christians love to talk about putting their trust in Jesus. But what I have observed, is a disconnect where trust is seen as parroting a handful ideas and few prayers and calling it a changed life. Having faith (another way of translating the Greek word pistis or trust), is more than having thoughts about something. Trust, real trust implies a recognition and response of life to all these things. We have to develop a kin-dom mindset. We have to change our thoughts and feelings to align with that kin-dom mindset. We have to act out and act on those kin-dom ideals and then, we can truly show trust/faith in the kin-dom life and these teachings of Jesus. 

This all taken together is the real good news, or as we usually say it, the gospel. Our trust/faith isn’t in a name or creed or political party or faction of Christianity. Our trust/faith is in this kin-dom way of life Jesus revealed and taught and lived and died for and was resurrected for. This gospel is the gospel we are called to live for and live into.