Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don’t Buy the Lie

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.
(Romans 12:1-2 – ESV)

As I have said before, believing a lie is the genesis of sin. Every sin you commit is because of some lie you believe. If you long to offer up your body as a living sacrifice so that your whole life becomes a spiritual act of worship and displays the worth of Christ above the worth of the world, you will have to be renewed in your mind. You will have to continually be immersed in the truth that Christ is more valuable and precious than anything the world has to offer.

We need new minds; we are fools to be wise in our own eyes. Your way won’t work, not if you want to give God the glory. It is also true that too many people think they know the scriptures when they are seriously deficient on that score. Their lack of discernment proves it. These verses tell us clearly that if we are being renewed in our minds we will learn to discern.

Now this isn’t about your intellectual development, Paul is talking about submitting your mind to God’s Word. This isn’t really about intellect it is about submission. Not getting smart, but getting wise. Now Paul is also saying we don’t just do it any old way we want, he is saying this is the start of the process. Just like baptism, there is a start to the process of renewing your mind. If you haven’t actually ever made this definitive commitment, you have missed something critical and you need to make that sacrifice today. Many people have read or studied the Word of God but haven’t presented themselves to God in this way. They seem to grow a little but they stall out. Here it is, in the scriptures, a definite decision to be made. This will transform your bible reading into discipleship training, where you learn to obey from the heart, and you learn to discern God’s will. This is the start of seeing God from more than a human perspective.

Both “conformed” and “transformed” are in the present passive imperative, a command to yield continually. In other words, never allow the world to fashion you, but always allow your mind to be transformed by God’s Word.

Let me give you a bit of discernment right now. Not being conformed doesn’t simply mean not doing those same old dirty things you used to do. Paul is not talking primarily about being good little boys and girls. The Christian alternative to immoral behaviors is not a new list of moral behaviors. When Paul says don’t be conformed to this world he is speaking about not chasing after the same things the world does.

How many times do we think we are being godly just because we are Christians? We see books and television and crusades and teaching and preaching about getting the most out of this life. The false gospels promote God and godliness as the means to happiness, and it isn’t that God doesn’t want you to be happy, but happiness to them is defined the same way the world defines it, as having all you want, and perhaps enough to give out some to others, so we don’t seem so self centered, as if this excuses the heart behind it all. If we are promoting this sort of false gospel, we are in effect saying that we have nothing different to offer than the world, than other systems of thought and other religions; we just have a better way to get it, or we believe that it is sanctified if we do.

Christianity isn’t some way to become a better you or to live your best life now. Christianity is Christ, and to live for Him now, and to trust in Him to justify and sanctify you, not in your own best efforts. It is to be conformed to His image, to glorify Him not because we are at the top of the class, but because we have Him at the top of our list no matter what class we find ourselves in. To the Christian the way of sacrifice and suffering is the way of true victory, as we embrace our call to become like our Master.

Yes we can desire healthy bodies, happy homes, successful careers, solid relationships, and many manifold blessings here on earth. It is not wrong to want to be successful in what you are called to do. But our call is first and foremost to Christ. The problem is when these other things become our primary motivation, for we can strive for these things without striving to be godly, it’s exactly what the world is doing, striving for those same things, only we add God to the mix. Then we gain things and think this means we are gaining godliness, supposing that gain is godliness (1 Timothy 6:5 – KJV), when nothing could be further from the truth.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding (Proverbs 23:23).

Even So... said...

Please read all six posts in this series...