I’m in that place again… you know… that place where you have been many times, and many times over you have been in that place again.
I find myself recalling the verses which talk about ‘throwing off the sin that so easily entangles’ and talks about ‘fleeing from sin’. Why does God put so much emphasis on these and why in Romans 12 does Paul urge us to ‘present our bodies to God, as a holy and living sacrifice – for this is the true way to worship him’?
Answer – because you belong to God and God doesn’t want any harm to come to you, in the long run life is better but in those moments where temptation and the easy path present themselves – how often do we find ourselves giving in and not bothering to fight? For Paul writes to ‘Fight the good fight of faith’ – we and I need to remember that we are in a battle – not against earthly powers but
against spiritual forces that are so much more subtly and are in it for the long run, they aren’t so much into the victories they can make day by day but the cumulative effect they will have in the long run of stopping us becoming disciples that love Jesus and live every day for him and for others.
Verse 2 in Romans 12 states: ‘Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but 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.’
I’ve highlighted the section in the middle of this post because it’s the bit I forget most of the time… let God transform the way you think! The outcome of that is that we will be able to hear and know God’s will for us, how often do we let other voices and distractions take centre stage when we know that actually spending a bit of time with God is infinity more rewarding and beneficial. We struggle to see what God’s doing – maybe we’re not looking or on his wavelength because we haven’t allowed him to change the way we think. How much time do you spend worrying about something rather than talking to God about it?
For me there is a key point here about the nature of God… he won’t change you unless you want him to, he won’t step in sometimes if you don’t ask him (there are times of course he will), how many more people may be healed or come to know Jesus if we prayed for them rather than just expect God to move without us asking (believing that it’s his will) … God wants us to want him to be involved! He wants us to realise that we need to take a step towards him if we want to be changed into the people he’s calling us to be.
In Psalm 51 David (after having being challenged by Nathan re:Bathsheba) is crying out in repentance to God after realising that his lust and physical desires had taken over his self control and willingness to serve God. Someone who’s grown us hearing God’s voice and serving him is as easily susceptible to falling and making mistakes as anyone else. He writes:
“Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done
what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgement against me is just. For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you des
ire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me, now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to the rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” Psalm 51 : 4-17 NLT
There is a choice we need to make as disciples – whether we willingly give ourselves to be changed by God or we don’t. One’s easy and one’s hard work, one’s rewarding and life changing and one’s not. I’ll let you decide which….