And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
All of us have three common enemies to the life of faith that Christ provides: the world, the flesh and the devil. We all have a common problem in that these three forces are continually working to get us to conform to that which is in opposition to what the Lord would have us to be. In this life, there is no escaping this pressure, so we must learn to overcome it or we shall fall to it. How do we find success in this endeavor? We must develop the understanding that we need to be proactive in our faith life and take measures to allow God’s Spirit and Word to transform us by His grace! What this means is there is no place to be a jellyfish or tumbleweed in God’s Kingdom. We cannot succumb to laziness and apathy when it comes to living for Jesus. The forces in opposition to Him are already pressing in; but take courage, if you belong to Christ, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) What we all need to do is to surrender daily to the leadership of the Holy Spirit as He leads us to read the Bible, pray and obey His promptings to live by love and faith. If we are truly born again and belong to Jesus, we must actually disobey God, and quench or grieve His Spirit, to not be transformed. God has saved us to help us grow in our faith; but if we resist His Spirit in us, we shall cave into the pressures that oppose His work. This is why Jesus told us in Luke 9:23 that to be His disciple, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him. It is a life of following His lead, whether it is easy or hard. He is there to help us spiritually, but we must step forward by faith and choose to follow Him each day. Just because we followed Him yesterday, that is no guarantee we will do so today or tomorrow. God wants a daily relationship with us of love and faith, and that has to be voluntary and a desire of our heart to have any meaning. We must place our Bible, His Word, in a location where we cannot miss it if we are serious in our desire to grow. We must choose a place that is our “prayer closet” and go to it daily if we want to really hear from the Lord in prayer and commune with Him. As we walk in faith and obedience in these matters, God will renew our mind by His Spirit and bring truth and purity into our thinking in all matters. If we do not choose to seek God’s truth by Bible Study and prayer, we will most certainly be conformed into a shape and substance that is no blessing to God or any person in our life. This is not legalism, as if we were earning our salvation by these practices, this is just working out our salvation as we are told to do in Philippians 2:12. You cannot work out something that is not in you and existing already! Once we surrender to Christ for salvation and forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit indwells us. What are we allowing Him to do to help us grow and serve in the manner He saved us for? Let us on “press on in faith” and be diligent to grow in Christlikeness while we have time and opportunity to do so, i.e. today!!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek