Posted by: Mike Willoughby | May 18, 2010

Who are You? (Part 2)

Last week, I left you with this thought:

I think Jesus knew his expectations for us constituted a high bar.  However, as always he has our best interest in mind.  Jesus knows this expectation of living sacrifice is actually the key to joy and peace in this life.  He also knows compartmentalization, lies and deception are the tools of Satan who does not care about our best interests.  Remember Jesus’ promise to us from John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Over the past week, have you thought about how you can be a living sacrifice 24/7/365 and have abundant life in the process?  I think the key is in the second verse of the passage in Romans 12:1-2.

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.

When I first started struggling with the idea of being the same person in all areas of my life, I thought the key to success was getting control of my behavior and thoughts.  I thought, “If I can be a good person on Sundays, I should be able to be a good person during the week.”  The problem was I couldn’t manage to be that consistently good person even on each Sunday much less during every other day of the week.  It wasn’t until I realized that there were two external forces that were vying for my life that I discovered the key to being a living sacrifice.  The key is seeking transformation rather than conformation.  Either way, the key comes from outside my being!

By default I was being conformed to this world by the pressures that come from temptation working on my human nature.  I thought I could resist conformation to the world through will power but I found that was futile.  Even one slip led to guilt and defeat.  Then I realized that the opposite of conformation is not resistance but is instead transformation.  The world tries to conform but the Spirit will transform.  II Corinthians 3:17-18 reads:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Transformation does not come from exercise of will power and perfection of behavior.  That path was proven to be futile for generations of Israelites who tried and failed to keep the Law.  Transformation comes from turning my life over to the Lord and his Spirit who will renew my mind and open my understanding to the being of God, his principles that form the foundation of my life and the precepts that guide my behavior.  Only a transformed mind can test each decision against the understanding gained through the Word guided by the indwelling Spirit to discern the will of God.  That discernment will lead to the kind of complete and acceptable life that Jesus had in mind for each of us!  He came that you may have life and have it abundantly.  Allow yourself to be transformed by his Spirit and you can have abundant life in every scene, setting and second.  It’s a promise!

Until next week,

Meet me at the intersection!


Responses

  1. Law and Grace, I think it’s the fundamental comparison/contrast of scripture.

    We try to conform to Law (sometimes God’s Law, sometimes a man-made Law) and we always either come up short (guilt) or the other side we come out prideful (man, I’m pretty good.. at least better than that guy).

    But with Grace we are transformed (and translated!) in our “inner man”. Because we can now rest in our relationship with God (because we can’t earn it, it’s a free gift of restoration because of Christ’s death alone) we can now be free to live in God’s grace, making progress as His Spirit transforms us and “saying no” to guilt when we screw up (because we’re resting on Christ’s finished work to make us “right” with God).

    Law and Grace. I’ll never get over how cool it is that God’s word reveals this mystery and how revolutionary it is to the human spirit.

    Great word Mike!

    • Amen, Roy. Thanks for your comments and more importantly for your friendship! Proverbs 27:17


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