Conformity

Sunday, October 29, 2017, 3:23 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 12:1-2 (NASB).

A Holy Sacrifice (v. 1a)

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God…

I urge you, I implore you, fellow believers in Jesus Christ, by way of and as a result of God’s mercies to us, i.e. his compassion and kindness toward us, in forgiving us and in delivering us out of our sins, that you give yourselves over to God as a living and holy sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to him.

God, out of his love for us, provided the way for us to be delivered from slavery to sin, to be forgiven our sins, and to have new (eternal) lives in him free from the control of sin and Satan. He also has granted us the freedom, empowerment, wisdom and strength, of God’s Holy Spirit, to now walk (in lifestyle) according to his righteousness and holiness. This is why God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins. So, righteousness is what is deemed right in God’s eyes, i.e. all that is holy, moral, just, upright, honorable, honest and decent. And, holiness is being separate (different) from the world, because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

So, since Jesus did all this for us, and for these reasons, what kind of lives should we be living? We should be living in conformity to God/Christ, to his holiness and righteousness, and to the Word of God. Our lives are no longer our own, to do with what we want, for we were bought back for God with the price of Jesus’ blood, shed on a cross for our sins. He is now to be our ONLY LORD (owner-master), and we are to be his bondservants, to do his bidding. So, our lifestyles should reflect that truly we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and that we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Spiritual Worship (v. 1b)

…which is your spiritual service of worship.

Giving ourselves to God as a living and holy sacrifice (offering), acceptable (pleasing) to Him is our spiritual service of worship of Him. We can raise our voices and our hands to him in song, and still not worship him. We can serve within the church as a teacher, small group leader, deacon, elder, pastor, nursery worker, singer, instrumentalist, etc., and still not worship God. We can also attend church services every week faithfully, and give our money in the offering plate, and feed the poor and hungry, and still not worship God. And, we can, as well, read our Bible and pray every day and still not experience true worship of God and true fellowship (communion) with Him.

Worship certainly includes singing, praise, ministry, personal Bible reading (study) and prayer, benevolence, and the gathering together with the saints of God for the teaching of the Word, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer. But, we can do all of these things and still not worship God, if we do them in form only, and if or because our lives are not given to God as a living and holy (separate) sacrifice (offering), acceptable (pleasing) to him. So, if we want to worship God, truly (in truth), then our lives need to be surrendered to him (to Jesus Christ) as obedient servants ready to do what he wants for our lives, rather than us determining that for ourselves.

Not Conformed to World (v. 2a)

And do not be conformed to this world…

Conformity means compliance, agreement, obedience, and submission; similarity in form, manner or character. So, if we are living in conformity with the world of sin, that means we live in such a manner in which we obey and submit to and/or become similar to, in manner or character, the world.

So, what is the sinful world like? It does not submit to God. It does what the sin nature desires, rather than what God desires. Its eyes are full of adultery, lust, and greed. Immorality is not only regularly practiced, but it is acceptable practice, and not to be condemned by anyone who thinks or believes differently. In fact, it mocks those who follow after the way of righteousness, or anyone who doesn’t think like it does. It has no problem viewing pornography or sexually charged or sensual movies, videos or still pictures. It has no issues with being entertained incessantly by murder, adultery, fornication, lying, cheating, stealing, mockery, gossip, and the like. And, thus, it often follows suit and does these things it views, too. And, it is alright with angry outbursts, meanness, lewdness, and course joking, also.

So, if we are to not be conformed to (in compliance with) the sinful world, then these things mentioned here, and more, should not be a part of our lives, too. Again, this is not to say that we will never sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should not be our practice, we should not walk in it, and it should no longer have dominion (control, mastery) over us. Daily, by the Spirit, we should be putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Daily we should take up our cross and follow Christ. And, daily we should be putting on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes and attacks against us (Eph. 6:10-20). And, we should be cutting out of our lives all which hinders our walks of faith or which draws us into sin. Many people do not live in victory over sin because they are not willing to let go of what leads them into sin.

But Transformed in Mind (v. 2b)

…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

So, we are not to be conformed to this sinful world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, which is the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, but only as we yield and submit to and obey our Lord’s directives for what to put off and what to put on (Example: Eph. 4:17-5:21). Yes, God is the one who cleanses, purifies, strengthens and helps us, but we have to do our part, which is to submit, obey, and surrender to Him. We have to walk according to the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He will give us (has given us) all we need to do this, but we have to do it, all in his power and strength, yes, but we still have to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). This is what his grace instructs us to do! Our minds are not going to be renewed in the Spirit if we keep filling them with the trash of this world. That is counterproductive! We are not going to have victory over any particular sins if we are continually feeding the sins and we are not feeding on the Word of God and his righteousness.

The Christian life is a series of put offs and put ons. This is why Jesus died, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and that we might deny self and daily take up our cross and follow Christ. When we believe in Jesus, with genuine faith, we are turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ Jesus (Ac. 26:16-18). Our salvation is not just about escaping hell and going to heaven when we die. It is about forsaking our old lives of living for sin and self, and putting on our new lives in Christ Jesus, and following him in obedience and surrender.

Lord, Move Me
An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.

 

2 thoughts on “Conformity

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