Friday, February 23
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Christians are to live differently from non-Christians. Sadly, it is hard to discern much difference between the behavior of a Christ-follower and that of a nonbeliever. The struggle comes, because we are shaped and influenced more by the world’s ways, cater to self-needs, and often misunderstand who God really is. This does not mean that non-Christians don’t have a lot of worthy qualities in their lives. They can be very compassionate and loving. They can serve and generously go the extra mile for you, but the Christian is to be a cut above. Our relationship with Jesus Christ places us on a path where we live in the world, but we are not to be like the world that is opposed to God. Therein lies our dilemma. How do we live differently, so that our lives stand out?
The Apostle Paul saw something unique in the Christ-follower. When we place our bodies on the altar of sacrifice, which means death and pain to self, something happens! We are transformed in our minds. In other words, we think differently. We are on a progressive growth path where we are learning to live the life God created for us. Unfortunately, many Christians refuse to think and learn. They are content living in the falsity of what I call “folk-religion.” Folk-religion means to have false views of God that often stem from a childhood religion that never grew up with us. We cling to that religion as a security blanket even though we no longer believe it or make sense of our world with it. However, when we let our minds be transformed, we are willingly open to do the will of God rather than live for our own selfish will. In other words, we engage our mind and figure out how to make sense of life.
Speaking of the will of God, many Christians agonize either over whether they are making the right decision or whether the decision already made was right. Just remember, there is a lot we will never know or figure out. Jesus simplified God’s will … Love God completely and love your neighbor like you love yourself. I know God can get very specific about what He wants in our lives, but I think we obsess and stress too much over “Is this decision or that decision the will of God?”. Live morally. Do good. Love others. Now that is a reboot!
Our Father, I really do want to live completely for You this day - being open to Your promptings, taking advantage of service opportunities, and learning how better to love people I encounter. Give me a yearning to know Your word and to learn all I can about life. Amen.
- Pastor Clarence