2 Corinthians 5:17
17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
I have heard it said on many occasions, “I’m not all that I should be but I’m not what used to be.” And while this statement is true for all of us I can hardly resist asking the question, “How long do you think it’s going to take to become better than you are?”;While the statement is true and to some extent noble, one must be careful to not allow such thinking to grant license for them to stay carnal. One’s responsibility to become a spiritual being belongs solely to them; when one enters into a relationship with God it should be because they have come to the realization of how important it is to seek God. One’s relationship with God determines where they will spend eternity. God’s blessings sustain us each day that we live; our only hope stems from the relationship that we have with God.
THE NATURE OF THE RELATIONSHIP:
It is a relationship that is a result of a free will decision. A decision formulated on any basis other than free will carries no validity. A relationship with God that comes about as a result of coercion or simply relenting to some outside influence is baseless. The irony is that numerous individuals are in a kind of a relationship with God for reasons other than that they came to an adequate understanding of the nature of a true relationship with God.
The first thing that should be understood is that God sets the standards for a relationship with Him. For those who think that they can be in a relationship with God and still flirt with the world they are grievously mistaken. An all knowing God knows more about how you feel about Him than we do. (Mt. 22: 37: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.) This carries with it the understanding that God remains the central focus in all of the activities of our life.
EVIDENCE OF GOD IN OUR LIFE:
If we love God with a true love then certain things spontaneously happen in our life. Some individuals struggle with the fact that their lives don’t produce the kind of Christian fruit that they think that it should. True enough; is the assumption that if we are succeeding in living a faithful Christian life that some things will automatically come about as a result of that. It is also true that if one is living a faithful Christian life that there are some things that will not be permitted in our lives. (Mt. 7: 16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.) When individuals come to understand this simple proposition then I believe that they will enjoy a Christian life in a fulfilling way that perhaps they didn’t realize existed.
Paul speaks of fruit that is borne out of spirituality. (Gal. 5: 22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.) The significance of this is that for those who are struggling with bad habits that contradict the will of God; it is not necessary to try to identify and conquer each of those worldly traits individually. If the spirit is cultivated for God the fruit will automatically come forth. One’s inclinations for things that are ungodly are replaced by the desire to do what God would have you to do.
Take this little test with me: Do you have trouble with your mouth saying things that are ungodly or speaking to others unkindly? Do you have trouble with your eyes seeking things that they shouldn’t? Do your feet take you places that you shouldn’t go? My diagnosis is that you haven’t grown your spirituality to the point that it dominates your life. (Jn.3: 5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.) This verse alone should be enough to motivate an individual to become spiritual; especially given the fact that the only way to make heaven one’s eternal home is to be born of the spirit.
THE CALL TO BE TRANSFORMED:
Rom. 12: 1: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
What is a “Sacrifice”? From practical application of the examples given to us in the bible, we can arrive at the conclusion that it is giving up something that is valuable to you.
In the examples of the ceremonial sacrifices that were made under the old covenant, a sacrifice was to be without blemish; it was the first fruit or the choicest of the flock. It was something that the owner valued and would desire to keep for his own use. The sacrifice was validated by the willful choice to give up to God something that you would like to keep for yourself. It was a statement of love to God that love for Him superseded the love of the thing that the” sacrificer” was offering. (When you think about it, they were only giving back to God that which He already owned.)
God did this to see if the “Sacrificer” had replaced Him with another God. (anything that is put before God becomes your god.) Paul says that we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Not only that, he says that it is the reasonable thing to do. (Each individual must reach the mind-set that offering our bodies in sacrifice to God is the reasonable thing to do.)
Allow me to assist you with that small feat by telling you that the trade-off is in your favor to do that. Think about it. Why would you trade off eternal life by holding on to something that you can’t keep? Job said: 14: 1: Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.” It is absolutely essential that each individual gets a firm grasp on the value of this fleeting life and the unimaginably wonderful reward of living eternally in heaven.
There was a man named Abraham who wanted a son. God promised to bless all nations through him by way of the son that He promised to give him. Abraham was a hundred years old when God fulfilled the promise to give Abraham a son. But one day God said to Abraham; “I gave you a son and now I want you to give him back to me as a sacrifice.” (It’s not a sacrifice if you don’t mind giving it up.) I would venture that Abraham loved his son as much as he loved his own life. Many of us would sooner give up our own life as opposed to sacrificing our child; but the reason that that scripture is there is to let us know that if God desires a sacrifice we should not take it as if it’s up for debate. We want our earthly lives so that we can do with them as pleases us. The choice has always been clear; we make our lives a living sacrifice to God or we keep them to ourselves. (NEWS FLASH!!!) You can’t do both. Mt.6: 24: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.
Fortunately, God is not asking of us what He asked of Abraham. His request of us is not to die; His request is that we LIVE for him. You see, death was a part of the sacrifice that He made for us. His only son not only had to die, but He died a death that was without mercy. No one left a ram in the bush when it came time for Gods Son to die.
Rom. 12: 2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
There is a real and serious problem that we all face. That problem is that the world is trying to squeeze Christians into a mold that is shaped like it. The world demands that we divest ourselves of godly traits. The world says; “Don’t love God with all your being, and don’t love your neighbor as yourself.” “Don’t separate yourselves from the practices of the world.” “Don’t be a light that shines into this darkened world.” “Don’t let the world see you looking like Christ.” But don’t be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.