Monday, May 11, 2015, 7:10 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Believe Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 12:1-2 (ESV).
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Because of what Jesus Christ did for us in saving us from our sins, and through faith in him, and in his power and strength within us, we are to give our all to God in complete surrender. So, what should that look like? What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? Basically it means to let go and to let God. It means the “I” in me is crucified with Christ, and “I” no longer live, i.e. my will is now God’s will for my life. This takes place when we come to faith in Jesus Christ, and yet it is an ongoing process of daily surrendering our lives to God and of not allowing our human flesh to overtake us. It does not mean we will never be tempted by sin again, but that we take the way out from underneath the temptation which Jesus Christ provided for us through his death on the cross for our sins.
There are many reasons why we, as humans, might try to hold on to our lives and not surrender them completely to the Lord. One of the main reasons is that we might want to retain control of our own lives because we want to do what we want to do. For some, it may be that they just want to hold on to sin, and they know if they surrender that they will have to forgo the sin, and they are not willing. For others it may be that they just won’t trust God with their lives because they are afraid of what he might ask them to do, that he might ask them to do something which would get them rejected, and they are more concerned with human acceptance than they are with pleasing God. Yet, he asks us all to be his light to the world and the salt of the earth, and he said the world will hate us because of him.
Then, there are those times in our lives when life doesn’t make sense to us, or when trials and tribulations come our way and hit us hard, and so we cry out to God for understanding. Yet, in those times he says “Trust me.” “Believe me.” We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t even know what is at the end of the tunnel. And, God doesn’t promise us that more heartaches are not in store for us. And, so we must surrender our all to God, not knowing what lies ahead, but believing in him that he knows best, and that he has it all planned out for our ultimate good. So, even though we can’t see what is coming, we put our lives in his capable hands, and we surrender, and we trust him to work it all out. And, we refuse to worry and to fear, but we keep believing in our Lord and in his sovereignty.
Our Spiritual Worship
As living sacrifices to God, with our all on the altar, we are to live lives holy and pleasing to God. To be holy means to be set apart from (unlike) the world because we are becoming like Christ. So, what is the world of sin like? It is full of greed, envy, hatred, discord, fear, worry, adultery, lies, murder, lust, selfishness, bitterness, mockery of what is righteous, rebellion, idolatry, manipulation, deception, and all sorts of evil. We are to come out from among this and be separate from (unlike) the world, which means we should also not indulge ourselves in being regularly entertained by all this filth, too. Too many who call themselves followers of Christ are living just like the world, and this is has to end.
To be pleasing to God means to give him pleasure and to be agreeable to him. So, what gives pleasure to God? He is pleased when we turn from our sins, when we surrender to his control over our lives, and when we walk in obedience to him in the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh. This is agreeable to him. He is pleased when we come out from participating with the world in their sin and when we surrender our all to him, and allow him to work his will in our hearts and lives. What gives him displeasure is when we stubbornly reject his will for our lives, and when we choose to go our own way, or when we feel as though we can’t trust him, and so we take matters into our own hands, because we think we know better than God.
When we surrender our all to God, living to please him, and we are set apart from (unlike) the world because we are becoming like Christ, this is our spiritual worship of him. I think the church today, at least here in America, often gives the impression that “worship” of God is the time in a church service in which we sing songs of praise to God for all he has done. Certainly that is one aspect of worship, if truly we are worshiping him, but true worship of God cannot exist without surrender of our wills to his will for our lives. Some churches emotionally pump up the volume in their “worship” services and people feel as though they are worshiping God because of how it makes them feel, yet true worship cannot exist without surrender. We can’t go to a church service and sing songs of praise to God and then leave and live just like the world the rest of the week and think we have worshiped God.
Do Not Conform
We are to no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world. What does this mean? It means we, as followers of Christ, should no longer adapt our lives to the world around us. We should not fit in with (be in agreement with) the ways (shape; form) of this sinful world. We should not immerse ourselves in our cultures (in their philosophies, values and beliefs). We should not be on friendly terms with what is sinful. We should not think and act like the ungodly, but many do. And, I believe that TV, movies, social media and the Internet have a HUGE influence on the minds, attitudes and behaviors of Christians today to where so many of them are not distinctly different from those who profess no faith in Christ at all. Instead of standing out as different from the world they immerse themselves in the world and even disseminate the same garbage that the world is offering. This should not be!
So, what can we do to change all of this? The first thing we need to do is to surrender to Jesus Christ and to his Lordship over our lives, find out what pleases him, and do it. And, we should stop doing what we know is sinful and/or that which agrees in any way with what is sinful, such as in allowing ourselves to be entertained by it day after day. Then, we need to allow the Spirit of God to transform us in heart and mind away from sin and to following our Lord Jesus in faithful obedience. It is counterproductive to spend time in the Word each day seeking God’s will if we then spend hours engaging our minds in what is opposed to God and to his righteousness.
We have to flee from all that is opposed to God, and we have to daily put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against our minds. We have to put off fear, and put on faith; put off lust, and put on purity; put off gluttony, and put on self-control; put off hatred and contempt, and put on God-like love; put off lies, and put on truth; and put off selfishness and put on selflessness, etc. (See: Ephesians 4-5).
When we do this, all in the power and strength and wisdom of the Spirit of God within us, and not in our own strength, we prove, not only to ourselves, but to the world around us what God’s good, pleasing and perfect will is. The more we yield control of our lives over to God, forsake what we know is wrong in his eyes, and put on what we know is pleasing to him, the more we learn to discern what is right vs. what is wrong in the eyes of God, because we are no longer being desensitized to evil via being entertained by it day after day, but we are spending more and more time with God in his word and in doing what it says.
Then our lives serve as testimonies of God’s saving grace, of his holiness and of his righteousness in our lives, not only because of what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins, but as testimony of the power of God to transform a human life away from a sinful lifestyle to a life given over to God to serve and to obey him. If we want to give testimony of God’s saving grace to the world around us, then we need to live like we have been set free.
Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013
My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
Seeking You for the answers
To my heartache and questions
I have concerning my life?
Speak, Lord, to me right now.
“Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
With your life’s circumstances?
Give your all on the altar
In submission of your will
To My purpose for you.
“Surrender your life completely
To your Lord and your Savior.
He has all things planned for you
For His glory and honor.
He’ll work all things for good.
“Believe Him. He will fulfill all
Of His promises to you
For your life and your future.
Trust Him. Rest in His love.
He’ll give you peace from above.”