Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Be Transformed

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

The largest room in the world is the room for improvement. The process by which God makes a man into the image of His Son is called transformation. While it is possible for a man to change his mind and behavior through education and law enforcement, a man’s nature can only be changed by God.  The Christian should spend less time trying to BEHAVE and more time seeking to BE HIS.  While many a man spends a great deal of time and energy on these areas of physical change, a man is actually changed only by transformation.

For the person who wants to BE not just ACT different, God gives direction for change.  We should not be so concerned about what we do as what it is within us that causes us to do it.  God is desirous of altering the cause and thus the effect of sin in our lives.

Transformation requires responding to Gods mercies
Our transformation is God’s work. He calls us to Himself by His love and grace. He places us with others who are committed and molds us by affiliation with believers.  Together we hear and understand the acts of God then personally respond to those acts by opening our hearts and minds to His desire for our lives. Christianity is a personal faith response to a personal God lived out in fellowship with His church. 

Transformation requires sacrifice
  • Sacrifice of flesh - "bodies" - God does not want only your soul and your spirit. God does not want only your prayer and thoughts.  God wants to use our physical life for His kingdom.
  • Sacrifice of involvement - "living" -  Unlike the Jewish sacrifices which were presented dead, the picture is a life on the altar of God and thus in the service of God. You cannot give your life to Christ without giving Him your time.
  • Sacrifice of the best "holy" - A little boy and his sister decided to play "flood".  They gathered all of their toy animals together and herded them onto the ark.  After the flood was over they remembered that Noah made a sacrifice to God.  As they sought out what they would give the little boy went back in the house and found a dirty unwanted lamb. "This is good enough for a sacrifice," he said. Any sacrifice brought to God was to be "without spot or blemish"... the very best.  So it should be with our lives.  God deserves the very best.  Our leftover or affordable gifts to God bring Him little honor or glory and us little power.
  • Sacrifice in the proper spirit - "acceptable" - God is not pleased if we bring Him great amounts of something He doesn't ask for.  That which is acceptable is that which is "required".
  • Sacrifice which is worship - "service" - The word translated "service" has an interesting history.  Initially the word "latreia" meant to work for hire or pay.  The word came to mean to dedicate for use and finally for use by the gods.  In the Bible it never means human service but always refers to service to and worship of God.  Here then is the highest place of sacrifice to God.  For real worship is the offering of one’s body and all that one does every day with it to God.  Real worship is not the offering of elaborate prayers to God. Real worship is the offering of everyday life to God, seeking his changing and transforming power of every area of our lives and thus our nature.
Scripture to Claim:
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.  Psalms 51:16-17

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