Sunday, January 19, 2020

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Be Transformed and Not Conformed

Over the next couple of Sundays, I will be looking at Paul’s letter to the Romans and concentrating on chapter twelve of that letter. As I was reading and doing research on the topic of being a living sacrifice, it came to me that sometimes we forget that we need to devote our lives to Him and in service to Him in accordance to His will and live a life that follows the teachings of His son, Christ Jesus. To say that one is a Christian is easy, but to be and live as a Christian daily is the hardest and most difficult thing to do. 

We are constantly tempted to return to our old sinful ways. We are bombarded daily with false teachings, the sinful nature of this world and with continuous attacks from both Satan and those in this world that would stop at nothing to destroy Christianity and wipe it away once and for all time.

When you think about it, Satan’s goal is to have everyone deny the existence of God and His Son and become disobedient to His will. It is as simple as that. But, remember what Jesus said to the seventy-two that he sent out as “lambs among wolves”.

In chapter ten of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sends seventy-two disciples, in pairs, to visit cities and towns that he planned to visit. In short, they were to prepare the way just as John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness and prepared the way for the one “coming soon who is greater than I am”.

Upon returning to Jesus, those seventy-two disciples joyfully reported that even the demons obeyed them when they used Jesus’ name. Jesus told them that they had been given authority over all the power of the enemy. So, Satan and his minions have no authority over you. You have been given the power to rebuke him and to stand firm while being covered with the armor of the Lord. 

With that, we are empowered to live a life devoted fully and completely to the Lord and should live life as a “living sacrifice”. A sacrifice, in this sense, is to be done by giving thanks and being thankful at all times. We should rejoice and be glad in all those things we do in the Kingdom of the Lord.

That means that we should not be copying the behaviors and customs of this world. When we do, we give in to temptation and begin to move away from the path of righteousness. It is so easy to do. Think about how many times daily, if not hourly, that you are tempted to do things that are contrary to the laws and the will of God. I am not immune to those temptations. None of us are. We are constantly under attack. But, we have been given authority over Satan. We have the power to rebuke him at every attack. We are covered in the armor of God and no spiritual attack can penetrate or compromise His armor.

Remember God has transformed you from one that walks in darkness to His child that has been made holy. You are His and he gave up so much for you. 

Paul, in chapter twelve of Romans, writes, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Being a living sacrifice starts by changing the way you think. If you think about the things of the world constantly, you will fall prey to the temptation of this fallen world. If you think about God’s gift of salvation and realize that you are nothing without Him, then you will seek out His will in all that you do.

When we change our mindset, we consciously decide not to follow the ways and customs of this world and we live a life devoted to God and in His service.

Jesus, in his parable about the sower in chapter thirteen of the Gospel of Matthew, tells us, “The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

If you don’t change your mindset and look to God’s will which is good, pleasing and perfect, then you will soon find yourself slipping back into your old ways and the behaviors and customs of this sinful world. 

Paul, in chapter four of his epistle to the Philippians, writes, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Once again, it starts with a mindset change that results from being transformed by God and not being conformed to the behaviors and customs of this world. 

Devote yourself to what is good and pleasing to the Lord in all that you do and say. Don’t allow the enemy a foothold in your life. He will exploit it and work to deceive you and help crowd out the message by tempting and luring you with wealth and the worries of this life.

Remind yourself daily that you are a child of God and He is there with you. Rely solely on His strength and not your own. If you trust in the flesh, it will disappoint you every single time. If you place your trust in God, He will lift you up in victory and protect you. Remember God has given you His armor and provides you with all that you need physically and spiritually. 

In 1997, Apple launched a simple, but effective marketing campaign with an equally simple and straightforward message. It consisted of two simple words that changed the minds of individuals - “Think Different”. That marketing campaign struck a chord inside people and changed their minds not only about Apple but also their concept of personal computing. The difference between a good marketing campaign and a great one is profoundly changing the minds of people forever. That campaign did just that.

In keeping with a simple message that has a profound impact, I ask you to “think godly”. When you do that, I can assure you that you can stay true to the Lord by being a living sacrifice and stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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