“Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your reasonable service [your true and proper worship]. 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.” (Rom 12:1,2)
Because we are saved by God’s grace, the Apostle Paul says our “reasonable service” to God is to live lives that are pleasing to Him, making every effort not to conform to this world. Paul says that coming out of the world and living our lives according to God’s word is how we worship Him in our daily lives.
We are not to conform to this world because the prince of this world is Satan, and not only does this world reflect his image in all obviousness and subtlety, he is a master at appealing to our flesh.
We are not to seek the things of this world:
–“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” (Col 3:2)
–“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness..” (Matt 6:33)
We are also not to conform to this world because scripture tells us we are not of this world, we are sojourners and aliens here because we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus:
–“Beloved, I exhort you as aliens and sojourners, to abstain from fleshly desires, which war against your soul..” (1 Pet 2:11)
–“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus..” (Eph 2:6)
Although in Jesus we have been granted victory over Satan, we can’t outwit him and many of us are in bondage to him without even realizing it. Many brothers and sisters in Christ are frustrated in their spiritual walk, discouraged, depressed and defeated, not understanding why they can’t seem to move ahead in their relationship with Christ. Not realizing that they are watching the same T.V. shows and listening to the same music they did before they got saved. Not acknowledging that they are harboring anger and resentment, still hanging on to roots of bitterness or prejudice. Not realizing that although they may have come to the cross, they aren’t picking it up and carrying it. Or misunderstanding “carrying their cross” as meaning to suffer through the inevitable ups and downs of their life. Jesus said that we would have trouble (John 16:33). That’s not carrying your cross. Jesus said that carrying your cross is to deny yourself, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matt 16:24). Coming to the cross, is salvation. Picking it up and carrying it, is sanctification. Sanctification matters to God.
Scripture says that when we are saved, we become new creatures. We are told that the old passes away and all things become new, but many Christians are living in spiritual defeat because they don’t want to let go of the old. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor 5:17)
Scripture says our identity is to be in Christ, yet many Christians define who they are by the things of this world. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal 3:27). God’s love for us is so consuming, that He doesn’t want to share us with anyTHING or anyONE. He created us in His image and He is jealous of that image. When that image reflects more of the world than it does of Him, we are not giving God our reasonable service. God tells us that all we do, should glorify Him:
–“Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31)
–“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Col 3:17).
I want all my brothers and sisters to get what I’m trying to say here: The whole point of being born again, means that the old “you” MUST DIE, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col 3:3)
When you are born again, you gotta have the funeral for the “you” that was defined and identified by the things of this world, ” ..knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him..” (Rom 6:6). The Bible calls that process “sanctification”. That’s what Jesus means when He says that to find life, we must lose it (Matt 16:25 & 10:39). Many Christians are trying to find their life in Christ while still hanging onto their old one. The only way we can carry our cross is to approach it with empty hands.
Let us humble ourselves before our holy God and ask Him to point out anything in our lives that may be serving as a stumbling block to our spiritual growth. Then let us ask for His grace to deny ourselves, take up His cross and follow Him.