by Andrew Cromwell
A wise person once said, “If you want to change the world, you would do best to first change yourself.” This formula for change is simple, but it is anything but easy. To change, really change oneself may be the most difficult thing of all.
We know two things about the world. First, everything changes. Second, good changes take work. Think about it. The world and everything that is in it is breaking down. That new car that was your pride and joy, will soon lose its new car smell, be pock-marked with dings, and burn oil in a few short years. Your brand new iPhone will soon be cracked and slow. Your tight, beautiful skin will wrinkle and sag (if it hasn’t already). Even the sun will eventually burn out.
Everything changes, and everything breaks down. That is why the good changes, the growth changes, take work. The farmer who wants the ground he owns to produce a crop, knows that it will not happen without work. He must clear the ground of rocks and trees, turn over the soil, add fertilizer, turn it over again, plant seed, and add water. Then he waits for the crop. But his work is not done. He must fight the weeds, fight the pests and fight the elements to preserve his crop. He has to measure how much and when to water so that the crop grows at an optimal rate. He will watch carefully to see if herbicides or pesticides are needed. He will pray that it doesn’t get too cold or too hot and that the rain falls at the right time. And, then when the time is right, he will harvest.
This, of course, is an over-simplification of the work required to grow things, but it is clear that it takes a lot of work. Because a good crop doesn’t happen by accident. Weeds on the other hand, they’ll grow all by themselves.
In the same way, if you want to make positive change in your life, it is going to take an investment of time and energy. You are going to have to clear the ground, plow and water. You will need to pay close attention to the kind of seed that you are planting in your heart. And you are going to need to studiously keep removing the weeds and pests that will continue to pop up. It will take sustained effort, but in due time you will reap a harvest.
Change is challenging and you will not change without experiencing challenge. If you want to grow intellectually you are going to have to exercise your mind. If you want to build your physical muscles, you are going to have to visit the gym. And if you want to stop being the self-centered, selfish oaf that we all tend to be, you are going to have to do the tough work of exercising your heart—forgiving, giving, loving, and serving.
Wanting to change is different than actually changing. We all want to change. We all want to be better people. But only the few who are willing to invest the time are going to reap the reward. Jesus said, “Guard your heart diligently, for from it flows life.” If you want to change, start with your heart. Pull up the weeds of bitterness, unforgiveness, and anger. Kill the pests of hurry, worry, and empty pursuits. Water regularly with conversations with Father God and encouragement from His Word. And in due time, you too will change.
What do you need to do in order to change from the way you are today, to the way you need to be? Stop putting it off and get started. Remember, if you don’t the weeds will just keep on growing.