The call to be Transformed
Nehemiah 8; John 3:30; Romans 12:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:22-25
We meet with God for the expressed reason to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is an act of worship for us to think right without distractions or personal agendas; look upon God as our Loving Lord Master as well as Motivator. Then we will be able to grow through the ordeals of life, the ups and downs focusing on how can I be approve to focus on what God's will is, to know Him, place Him first and foremost as His prime pleasing and perfect will. As to be proved, happens when we allow God's standard to be our primarily motivation then our paths will be level and straight. So that every aspect of our life is governed by our Lord, in perfect harmony (Matt. 6:33; Heb. 12:12-13).
This is how then we must live, because the Gospel is the transforming, converting and convicting power of God, because it transforms our fallen with God and by result our social relationships too. Our growth, by our meet, produces the virtue of the dynamics of love, which is the flow of the Holy Spirit working in us. In the previous chapters in Romans, Paul lays out the truth of what Christ has done, now we are shown how this must affect our lives and attitudes, and the people around us. Christianity is also an offering to others in gratitude, by what Christ has done. Pleasing ourselves is not the goal of the Christian life as so many pursue. We are to follow Christ and be imitators of His character, so it transforms our character. We are to do this through love and acceptance of others as Christ did with us, that we did not deserve. We do not just hate the sin in others and say we love them; rather we love them and hate the sin that resides in us first (Matt. 7:4).
Jesus calls us, His people and passionately urges us that God's will is to think rightly of His precepts. That means to make our faith so real it impacts others around us. And, we are give a simple call on how we can do this: To see our life as an extension of God's grace and hands, so we are willing and able to be lined up to Him, so we can be better used by Him. Then as His living sacrifice, we can be living, growing and performing agents of God. We are not alone in this essential manner, remember as a Christian the Holy Spirit transforms us completely, all we are and then all that we are to do, our will, plans and our opportunities (2 Cor. 3:18).
Renewing of your mind
Meeting with God gives us the renewing of your mind, this incredible opportunity we have to change and develop beyond what is greater than ourselves. This is an act of worship too, as our trust and obedience to think right without distraction or personal agendas. We are called and empowered to change our pagan thinking, even our faulty or shallow Christian mindset away from our selfish nature unto His character. Until we do, the deeper things of God's will and His precepts, will be vacant and not even be available to us. This passage is a testament that our ideas and attitudes directly shape our values and lifestyle. To get it right, we are to be shaping our mind to God's Word (Rom. 8:5-9; 12; 13:11-14; 2 Cor. 4:18; 1 John 2:17).
When we are in Christ, we are His Christians called to be deep with friends that are bonded as family. Our relationship with the Lord must be transparent and not secretive (unless you live in a closed Muslim country)! And what flows from our reverence that prompts our obedience and conviction by our gratitude for what our Lord has done and for who He is; they are the compassion for the needy, and the lost. Our lives must be motivated by who we are in Christ and nothing else. Being freed from sin must show a response and a responsibility, so what is yours (Luke 10:36-37; Eph. 4:23)?
Theology is a word many do not like today, but it is a precious word, for it is about our study of God, it is about Who and What He is. His Holiness is our focus of veneration and the duty in our application. Yet, it is the least thing considered in the average Christian's pursuit and even less by many popular pastors these days. Especially those who never take ownership of their faith, who grew up in a church and see it as cultural and duty, and not about devotion and lifestyle. The danger is for the Christian to be apathetic, and also just sit in a pew, learn all that they can, and take comfort in that knowledge, but never do anything with it. It is the church that refuses to teach that refuses to disciple that refuses to evangelize. The Christian that refuses to share their faith, or model Christ on Mondays, as well as Sundays is blight to the Kingdom. Be aware you will be harshly judged, you are no better than that of the Pharisees. The proof test is if you use people, or serve them? Do you just gather information, or do you apply it (Hos.6:6; Mica. 6:6-8; Matt. 12 9-14; James 1:21-27)?
When we become a Christian either by birth in a Christian family or through evangelism as an adult, a time must come when the reality of who we are in Christ hits home in power and conviction. Thus, our meeting with God will transform into a practical application of our faith just does not happen on its own; something wondrous must take place within us to transform us so we can. In other words, we must become the people of God in order that we are capable and willing to do the work of God. Keep in mind, we are never to separate theology from practice. Theology is the 'Who' and 'why' that translates in to the 'do' and 'be' of life. The question is well we be dedicated to our Lord or to ourselves?
Some will not get the Bible and thus not be Transformed
In John six, after Jesus' miracles and teachings, the multitude of people started to leave, going back to their lame lives and missing the greatest opportunity in human history-time and relational connection with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The God whose Hand is out was not received, and was even bitten by man's pride and selfishness. These people could not get beyond the literal meaning of Jesus' teachings; they wanted a show or easy belief-ism or just help for today with no hope for tomorrow. This thinking leaves behind a great spiritual substance that would last for eternity for something that is fleeting or blocked by our hurt feelings or the complaint that He did not meet their expectations (John 6:52-71).
Meeting with God is exercising our true faith; many people in Jesus' time as well as people today have a hard time thinking their faith needed more than a mild tweak, much less a complete overall be converted or to grow!
We have to ask, do I hunger for God's Word? If not why not?
If you do not what to know and read the Bible, then you do not what to know and build your relationship with Christ. Who is God, what is He all about, what does He want me to learn and do? If we can't do this we can't grow nor can we build His Church. Just as being married and deciding, I will not communicate with my spouse and wonder why you do not have a good relationship with them and our family is dysfunctional.
All too often, we can't understand or we confound the simple or fail to see what is important because we do not want to in our overly busy and what we think is important lives. Most people do not want conviction. Our sinful nature hates and fears true Truth, loves what feels good and is easy, and has a hard time trusting what is not tangible and believing in what is not clearly seen, which is what faith is all about. Yet, God demands and disserves our belief that is trusting and that is followed by obedience so we can overcome sin and receive His Redemption. Ironically, what Christ offers is the easiest of all; He does all the work and we respond with our trust. The hard part is our pride (1 Pet. 2:6-8; 1 John 2:19-25).
Meeting with Christ gives us real Truth. Yet, real Truth does not make sense to someone who is not in Christ. Jesus is calling us to attention to what is important, right, and true. Jesus is challenging us to the status quo belief that good works and for the Jews then, the righteousness of Moses is all they needed then. Righteousness can only come from God-that is, by Christ's work, who offers us the real true Truth (John 1:52; 3:1-11; 8:34).
You can be Transformed!
We are given a call several places in Scripture to make every effort, to take the spiritual initiative and be productive with our spiritual growth and Christian life! That we are to pay close attention to Christ with passion and purpose and not to have an attitude or life of laziness or leisure, but be fervent in knowing and growing in Christ and proclaiming His Gospel. To take the spiritual initiative to pursue God fervently and build bridges and relationships to God and others, to be productive with our faith and lives! Always be willing to acknowledge the difference between what is counterfeit and what is true Truth and be willing to repent and seek forgiveness when you are wrong. True Christianity and its practice never retires or becomes counter-productive. We have a purpose! And to do this, to do it right we have to be in His Word, the Bible as our foremost place of spiritual nourishment (John 16:33; 21:18-19; Rom. 12:18; 14:18-20; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Pet. 1:12-21).
The question for us is what are we doing?
And, how are our efforts going?
We are called to meet with Him daily, are you responding?
Does God need to stir you up?
Are you spiritually lazy or apathetic?
Does your Christian activity line up to His revealed truth or is it based on your plans and agenda?
If you are a pastor or Bible teacher, is your teaching from His Word or is it watered down or a counterfeit? Always be willing to know the difference and be willing to repent and seek forgiveness when you are wrong! True Christianity and its practice will never be diluted or retire or become counter-productive! The results are not as important as our obedience to follow and practice His call.
For us to develop trust and break down those barriers that hinder us, we must grow deeper in Christ; we have to realize what He is doing and trust Him. We have to see that His truth, which is for us today, and His work, will continue; allow it to give us hope. God is working; He is willing and able to work in you! He is working in our internal lives and external events; He is working through the pressures and problems that come to each one of us; He is working in the very circumstances in which you find yourself today, whether at home, work, school, or in relationships. What you need to know is where God is moving in your life, and then meet up with Him and work with Him. Allow Him to carry you over your pride, hurts, fears, circumstances, anxieties, or any other barrier so you can be His instrument to yourself and others. Then, allow this choice to endure-to be in line with what God does. Only God's work will last. He desires for us to become good and to grow, and He provides the means for us to do so!
How to be Motivated for Bible Study and Spiritual Growth?
To meet with God properly comes down to the quality of our faith and Christian life is exhibited in the quality of our preparations and discipline! Thus, our desire and attention to Him will be essential. We have to be enthusiastic, motivated to hear His precepts. Know it is God's voice, His Word for you; He has something to say to you, so hear it! To not allow your hurts and pride block it. Our receiving of His discipline is the entrance point to our spiritual formation which leads to our Christian maturity. Thus, when you are in a crisis or a troubling time, do not just ask for relief and divergence.
Seek Him by asking what do I learn and take away to build me up further in faith and maturity?
God wants us to be squeezed so we produce wine and not whine. If we do not lean on Him, we will not learn and thus will not pass on our experiences to help others. Our trial will be a foolish waste of real suffering. But, if we learn and grow through that trial, it becomes the great classroom of life and educates us better than any university degree. Taking on His strength is what helps us produce our joy, not our conditions or unfulfilled desires (Neh. 8:10; Isa. 40:29; Matt. 11:30; Heb. 12:14-29).
Our prime motivator should be our gratitude, the essence of true worship, and how we respond to God. This means we must have gratitude for what Christ did for us. We have been forgiven and saved; why fret and worry? This fuels all of our motives and contentment. If we do not have gratitude, we will not live out our Christian lives well and we may even become like our Jewish ancestors-stiff-necked and an insult to God Our sacrifice is not of animals; it is the offering Christ gave us, how we respond of ourselves with proper reverence and attitude. This also means that we now have a greater revelation, and thus a greater responsibility (Luke 10:20; John 4:19-24; Rom. 3:24-26; 4:23-25; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:15; Heb. 11:40).
You are the market for His Message and plan. He adopted us as His heirs, to receive His work and grace and blessings. He is the Eternal Creator; the glorious Lord of genuine Holiness. Since Jesus is our Rescuer and Redeemer, He took on our human nature but without our sinfulness, and remained pure to pay our dept for our sins. In the process, His human nature voluntarily became lower than the angels; but as Fully God, He is superior to them in essence, power, purpose, and distinction (Psalm 110:1; Matt. 14:33; Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; John 1:1-3; Rom. 1:4; 8:14-17; Gal. 4:6-7; Eph. 1:21; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 2: 7, 14-15; 1 Pet. 1:20).
The question is, are we hearing this? If so, are we being transformed by this?
If so, are we applying it in our lives so it also echoes to others around us?
As you meet with God, open your mind to Him,
allow Him to speak to your heart, be eager, be attentive, listen, learn, apply
and pass it on! Your desire and interest to Christ
will be key. We can pray, Lord
draw me closer, show me your wonders, plans and precepts, show me your Truth
and guide me in this journey to build my faith, build my church and live my Christian
life the best way possible.
© 2012 R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org