Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Conformed or Transformed?

Romans 12:1-2 - 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I've been concentrating on the difference between what the world believes and the totally radical concepts that Jesus taught. His views so go against the world's. That's why He was crucified. That's why followers are branded, as it were. Being in Christ and living in the world view do not mix. If the world view is more important, then a person is not in Christ. Hard words.

I'm sort of a perfectionist in some areas of life. I don't like making mistakes. I have beaten myself up over the silliest things. But I'm getting better at letting those foibles go and realizing I'm only human, that we all make mistakes. Some are just worse than others. Some are laughable.

One mistake we should not make is rejecting the One who created us. This is the biggest mistake. It's not laughable. Being conformed to the world view of life is a mistake. Being transformed by the truth of God's word IS our reasonable service. After all, the One who created us has the power to determine our eternal future. Do we want the world view or God's? Do we want lies or the truth? Or don't we care? Don't make the mistake of not caring.

Our reasonable service. 1Corinthians 6:20 tells us: You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. Christ died for our sins. It's only reasonable that we do our part to show our gratitude. We are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, to do His will, to share His love, have His compassion to those around us. It comes from His heart, not ours. World view (confirmation) is patting ourselves on the back, to show how good we are. God's view  (transformation) is it's done without thought to what reward we will get, what recognition, and possibly dying! If we are recognized, fine, accept it humbly. If not, don't get your undies in a bundle.

Jesus is truth. It is in His way we should walk. We are transformed when we allow His words (of truth) to penetrate our lives. Know Jesus, know what truth is. Eyes opened. Hearts submitted. Pride relinquished. Transformed.

I certainly do remember how I used to think. I remember how I used to feel that I could have more fun at parties with alcohol to loosen me up. I remember "knowing" if everyone does whatever, then it must be okay. How could God (yes, even then I thought about Him) punish so many? He wouldn't do that. We're all basically good people. Wouldn't the majority rule? Yes, I used the basically good line on myself. I remember believing quite the opposite of what I think today. I don't miss those old world views. I relish the fact that truth always wins out in the end. Truth is goodness. Lies are evil. When lies are exposed and truth becomes ingrained, it's hard to go back. Praise God for that.

Unfortunately we have an enemy who distorts truth, makes it look like it's a good thing. And there are many who fall into that trap. I've mentioned before God is not a tyrant and does not force us to be something we don't want to. When we voluntarily receive Christ, He does the work of making us better than we were...sanctified and holy in His sight...not necessarily a popular concept to the world...a concept that can cause us to be easily be rejected by those around us.

God is always trying to get our attention. If one incident fails, He tries another. What if Hurricane Sandy, like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, other disasters we've experienced isn't God's way of trying to reach out to us as a nation...or as others have said, the Church? Complacency in our walk with the Lord begins with each of us, but if our churches aren't preaching what we need to hear...about
transformation...it needs to change. No more milk toasty messages. God loves, but so does He judge.
If the idea Sandy is another one of God's attention-getters, maybe we need to humble ourselves. God is bigger than we are; He also brought this country into being. Maybe we need to think twice and consider the possibility of a God who is in control of everything. 

We are told to fear God, who has the power of life and death in lives, over mere man. Maybe it's time this country and the Church begins doing that. He's after our transformed souls. He's after a people who are truly devoted to Him. Without Him we are lost, including some churches.

... do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What can man do to me? (Matthew 10:28, Hebrews 13:6b)

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