May 21, 2012

A Christian Walk Unfeigned

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

To kick off this post, I'd like to quote a famous prolific writer, preacher & pastor in 19th Century England by the name of John Charles Ryle [1816-1900] -

“Begin reading your Bible this very day. The way to do a thing is to do it, and the way to read the Bible is actually to read it. It is not meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it; that will not advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.”
~ J.C. Ryle

The verses noted from Romans 12 contain a body-mind connection. Consider the commitment and steps necessary in developing a godly lifestyle. Paul was urgently warning believers not to be conformed to the world. If we're leaning toward compromise in our Christian walk, then the greatest danger today is an ungodly testimony. But, it doesn't stop there. Like tracking dog dung we've stepped on and soiling our house; likewise a worldly Christian drags in his worldly ways into the church and contaminates everyone he comes in contact.

Here's how it works: Through ungodly relationships and the impact of media, we're being influenced by people who are not following God's ways. Our society tells us to put self first, take what we want, protect our rights, and promote our own interests above others' interests.

In contrast, Jesus said that our heavenly Father will provide what we truly need (Phil. 4:19), we are to deny self and follow Him (Luke 9:23), and the humble - not the proud - shall receive honor (James 4:10). Conformity to the world's ideals will lead us away from God.

At the same time, Paul urges us to:

1. Present our bodies as a living sacrifice, which is a reasonable thing to do considering what the Lord did for you and me at Calvary. We are also to make our sacrifice holy & acceptable unto the Lord. How is that done? Romans 6:12-13 states, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

Confer with I Cor. 6:19-20. Of interest is the word present, which denotes the action of bringing and presenting an animal or other sacrifice before an altar (which is an Old Testament picture). It implies that the action was a free and voluntary offering. The act of freely devoting ourselves to God is one of the most loving acts that we will ever perform. And, it happens on a daily basis.

2. Pursue godly transformation of our minds using God's word as compass and ballast. It means to set our thoughts on things above (Col. 3:2) and to focus on what is true, right, pure, and admirable (Phil. 4:8). Adopting a Christian worldview will lead to Christlike actions. It requires making adjustments in how we view life until our thoughts line up with Scripture. We must also protect our minds with Biblical truth and surround ourselves with mature believers who can warn us when we start to stray.

Make no mistake, Friend, you cannot even begin on this Christian walk without first settling your old account of sin (Rom. 6:23; Jn. 3:1-7; Rom. 10-9-10).

Please understand that believers are exhorted to offer a sacrifice that will be acceptable to God; that is, such a one as He had just specified, one that was living and holy. No sacrifice should be made which is not acceptable to God. Don't even try.

The offerings of the pagan; the pilgrimages of the Muslims; the self-inflicted penalties of the Roman Catholics, are all uncommanded by God and Scripture. They are not and cannot be acceptable to Him. Those services that will be acceptable to God are those only which He appoints. People are not to invent services; or to make crosses; or to seek persecutions and trials; or to provoke opposition; or to withdraw themselves from society and live in isolated, austere surroundings. They are to do just what God requires of them, and according to Scripture. Nothing else will be acceptable to God. And this fact, that what we do is acceptable to God, is the highest recompense we can have. It matters little what people think of us, if God approves what we do. To please Him should be our highest aim; the fact that we do please Him is our highest reward.

Ask yourself these questions, Friend:

Am I focusing on what is important to the Lord?
Am I making a conscious effort to adhere to Biblical truth?
Am I demonstrating a pattern of godly transformation?
Am I presenting my body a living sacrifice according to God's word?

If you answered No to any of these questions then why not get right with God on this account, submit to His will (James 4:7-10) and see the outflow of His power through your obedience (Jn. 15:1-10). Let God's Holy Spirit empower you to make the changes necessary to be more like Christ.

But first, you must be born again! Are you willing to take that first step? It's the only way, Reader (Jn. 14:6)! The Plan of Salvation

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