It is a critical search to identify good reasons and theories about why people change. Ultimately, all explanations and theories come down to changed thinking, which changes people. Here is a phrase that has merit:
If people are changed, they are changed largely because their thinking has changed.
Since a person's thinking is the critical element, you can help people change using truth and reality. Read Acts 19:18-20 in the box above and think about what happened there. Does that scripture passage illustrate how changed thinking changes people?
YES! Before they knew Christ, they thought magic was the answer. The books they owned apparently were used to apply the magic. Now that they believe in Christ, they burn an absolute fortune in books about magic.
Why? Their thinking changed! That is a common pattern everyone follows in life. You can learn about it in this blog. Here is the pattern of the people in the Acts passage. “My life depended on whether I had the right magic or potion to make life better. Now I believe in Christ, so it is time to burn my magic books because I believe He is the answer.”
Their life radically changed, so much that they burned what they used to consider a treasure. Changed thinking changes people!
Let's take a look at change in a simple format. There are three options for change: get better, stay the same, or get worse. Below is a table using those three options. Instead of speaking specifically, let's talk about change generally. Any change will involve something true or a lie supporting the change.
What’s evident about the BETTER column?
Right, it involves believing TRUTH!
Truth is imperative for a “better” life. When lives change for the better, truth is a catalyst somewhere. “Better” in this context does not mean winning the lottery. While that can be better for some if they have the correct thinking about stewardship, it creates a nightmare for most. So, let's define “better" as a life that becomes more closely aligned with God’s prescription.
Truth is always to align and relate with God. Consider the definition of truth: “the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual; a proven or verified principle or statement; fact.”
And, please consider another word – REALITY. Reality is “an actual fact, the quality or state of being real.”
While the definitions of truth and reality are not identical, they are strikingly similar. When you believe in truth, it means you see what is actual, genuine, and factual. When you are living in reality, you see objectively and factually. Yes, lies are real, but the content of the lie leads to what is not true and factual.
Truth is often difficult to accept, and reality is an acquired taste. It is best to pursue both despite any temporary unpleasantness they may create.
By the way, the phrase “perception is reality” is invalid. Reality does not change because we perceive it differently. The phrase is correct if used from the view that people think their perception is reality, but reality doesn’t care about our perception; it is what it is.
A Better Statement to Memorize
With truth and reality in mind, let’s build on the statement you see at the beginning of this article –
Our beliefs don’t change for the better unless we accept and act on truth or reality.
To make this applicable, what reality/truth are you not applying to your life? Will you ask others for their input? Consider the following as a starter kit to reflect on changes that you may need in your life.
- Financial stewardship/saving/spending/investing
- Prayer life/Bible study
If you took one item and saw truth or reality about it, you increase your chance to make a positive change. Assume it is your spending. Maybe, you aren't treating God’s money as His. You act like it is yours (That is the first element of the Common Pattern - "I was living this way"). If you accept truth and reality and align with God's thinking, life will be better. Or, if you ignore it and act like the money is yours, life will continue on a downward path. That choice means either your life is better, the same, or worse ("Now I live this way").
There's that common pattern again. Look for the details about the common pattern here. Keep in mind that changed thinking changes people!