ARE WE CONFORMING TO THE PATTERN OF THIS WORLD, OR HIS KINGDOM?
Paul’s letter to the Roman church urges, and beseeches, “Christians” in the view of God’s mercy, to offer their bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and pleasing to God. This should be all of God’s humble children through Christ spiritual act of worship everyday as they live. A living sacrifice is offered every day one lives, that is why it is called a living sacrifice because God wants to live in and through His children while they live now.
Roman 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship.
The word urge, is used in the NIV, and beseech is used in the KJV, and this word in the Greek means beg. Paul was begging with all the compassion he could muster up for the Romans through God’s mercy to offer themselves fully and wholeheartedly as living holy sacrifices that would please God. That would mean no conforming any longer to the patterns of the world, or for their own desires and will. He was begging them because he knew if they didn’t they would not be pleasing God, and would not be made holy in the fullness of God through His Son’s image.
Paul wanted their minds, hearts, souls, spirit, and body renewed, and transformed by God’s truth, and He knew if they didn’t give themselves fully to God, He would not live in and through them for others. Paul knew if they wanted the fullness of God to live in them as He did through His Son the Romans and all Christians would have to fully give all of themselves to God.
This is not debatable, or something any of his children through Christ should be arguing about, this is what all of us should be offering to God, not a few, but all His children that have been offered God’s mercy from the Cross should be living out this act of worship to God through Christ every day of their lives. IF a person has not experienced God’s mercy from the Cross then they will not know what it means to give their bodies to Him as a living sacrifice and what that means.
God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus washes over a person when He draws them to the cross. It takes their weight of their sin off their shoulders, and washes them clean. His mercy reveals His love for His Son in their place, and in view of His mercy we repent, give all of ourselves to God, for His use to work in our body and through our bodies for His purpose.
Paul was telling the first Christians in Rome this was every child of God’s act of worship. This is the way each of his children worship Him, by giving themselves to use for Him to speak through, think through, walk through and live through. Just as He did through His Son He wants to do in and through us. Through Christ we are one with God as the Son was with God. Why?
Because God has chosen us out of the world to live in His Kingdom as a people of His very own. We are His offspring, children of the light, through His first and Holy Son. WE are not greater than Him but we will be like Him through His Spirit. For Himself God so love the world He sent His Son to die for us so we could be holy and true through His Son, and He could have and build a Kingdom all His own.
His Kingdom lives, and thinks totally different than this world does, and if we do not sacrifice our bodies as a humble child through Christ our minds will still conform to this world and not be renewed for His Kingdom, which is holy and only living to please God doing His perfect will, not our own.
John 18:36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews, but now my kingdom is from another place. “You are a King then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.
How many “Christians” today this moment, truly live on the side of truth and listen to Him? Jesus Christ is the only human that came from God, without sin, lived perfectly denying himself, no confidence in his flesh, bodly speaking and doing God’s will with Joy all the way to the end of His life to the Cross. Jesus was born from God’s Spirit in the womb of Mary, for God, and was to be used by God for His purpose of drawing all people to Himself through His Son.
Through Him we will be living to please God our Father the same way doing our Father’s will, for His purpose, denying ourselves, and carrying our cross, through His Spirit bodly speaking and doing all He did we will do. This will be done with joy because of all He gives us of Himself will work in us and through us for His purpose, as the Spirit worked in and through Him, He want to work in and through us.
His Spirit comes with His joy, and all the fruits of His Spirits were in Jesus are now in us. All of God’s words are in us, and speaking through us. Paul repeatedly says, not I but Christ does His work in and through me, I am being offered as His drink offering pouring out what He pours in so all can benefit from Him. Paul knew Jesus was in him, doing his work in and through him for His purpose. Paul knew he was sent the same way Jesus was sent, and through the Same Spirit of truth that was in Jesus, was in Paul and now He is living in and through us as He lived in and through Paul. But are we willing to give ourselves up like Paul did?
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
How do we test and approve of God’s will? By not willing to be conformed any longer to this world, and be willing to be transformed by God renewing your mind. This word conform means to comply with the customs, views, ways or standards of. The word transform means to transfigure, or change into. We must get to the end of ourselves and the end of this world if we want to be his disciples willing to be transformed by His wisdom, and presence. We must be willing to give up all the patterns of this world so we can be transformed for His Kingdom.
When we prove to Jesus that we have come to the end of ourselves and the end of this world He will renew our minds, and we will know His perfect and pleasing will. Many today are not getting their minds renewed because they still are conformed to the pattern of this world, and are turning away from His Kingdom.
Many are not consciously disobeying God, but they don’t pay attention to God. God tells his children his instructions, but many do not truly pay attention to Him, not because of willful disobedience but because they truly do not love Him above all, and do not respect Him above all. He said, if you love me, you will listen to my instructions, and if I am your Lord you will listen to me, period. If we truly love Him and respect Him above all, we will listen to Him above all, and do what He says above all. God makes it simple, and we make it complicated.
Many think they are living to please God, but their lives, fruit of their spirit, wisdom, beliefs, and teachings they live by do not conform to God’s Word through His Spirit of truth. Many live conformed more to the pattern of this world, and twist it to conform to the pattern they want to live by and are not willing to be transformed by His Spirit of truth through His given understanding of His word.
How many of us today are too prideful, and set in our ways for our minds to be renewed by God? How many of us say, “I have lived this way all my life and I am not changing it for anyone!” “I have lived and others have lived this way for centuries what about all those people who have gone before us, are they wrong? Remember He is a God of the living, and He wants you to focus on Him, not others who have passed away.
The Holy Spirit desires to renew our minds so we can be right with God, one with the Father as the Son was with the Father. He does not take in account what people do when it comes to each of us, or who others follow above Him when He is speaking to each of us, and He does not want us to focus on anyone else either. He wants to teach each one of us personally by the same Spirit and renew each of our minds to the mind of Christ, the same Lord over all. We do not heed and attain what He says.
John 17:20 “My (Jesus) prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me, and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Through the Son can we only know God’s fullness in His glory, His unity, His mind, His power, and His love so the world will know God sent Him to save it. Today there are not many who are One with God as Jesus was One with God and it has a lot to do with being conformed to the pattern of this world, and being devoted to other things and people above Him.
He wants all His children to listen and pay attention to Him and Him alone, as His Son did, and that is what our Lord wants for us and His Spirit within wants for us. He wants us to focus on Him so He can work in us, and through us fully as He fully worked in and through His Son and His other first disciples His word plainly reveals to all of us. They were all FULL of His Spirit. His children quit listening only to Him centuries ago, but His children today can change that. He is constantly wanting to teach His children, and renew their minds, but we willingly must not want to be conformed to this world. Many “Christians” today, as in Paul’s age, do not pay attention to what God teaches, they want to live the way that want to and justify the way they are living as following Christ going His way, when their way does not reflect His Spirit nor His word.
Many today take away from the gospel message of the Cross, and add different meanings that nullify the cross, and Jesus says, remain in me and my word and I will remain in you. Many have wandered away from His word, so Jesus cannot remain in those as He wants because they do not live by His instructions through His word.
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Mathew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother -in-law- a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. (Micah 7:6 prophecy)
God is telling us there may be members of our own family that do not love God above all, they will love this world, the pleasures of this world, and the pattern of this world more than Him. His sword that divides us is His word, and there may members of our own household that his children’s enemies because they do not want to live by His word, they want to add to it, and twist it to suit their own desires, traditions, ways and their own teachings.
If someone does not live by His word He knows, no one can hide that from God, it doesn’t matter how one justifies it, He knows if we truly are following His word or not. God’s word is what divides us, judges us, and guides us, strengthens us, and lifts us up. It is the only word that touches our heart and renews our mind. It lives in us and keeps us actively moving forever forward toward Him.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul, and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus plainly says we are in this world, but because of Him we are not a part of this world any longer. Many “Christians” today live by the pattern of this world, and say they do not, but by their actions, and beliefs they cannot deny it, but they still do.
John 17:14 I (Jesus) have given them ( disciples) your word and they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Many are comfortable where they are, and do not test their own actions, motives or why they do things. The Spirit of God continually test all spirits and judges all motives, and things that we do to keep us right, and through us to help keep our brothers and sisters right, but we do not pay any attention to Him. Many read His word, and say it is true, and say they live by it, but truly many do not. They add to His word, twist His word and then follow man made traditions and say it comes from God.
1 Thessalonians Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything, Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it.
There are many ways we can put out the Spirits fire, and many people do not realize it because they do not test everything, they treat God’s prophecies and instructions with contempt by ignoring His word.
Matthew 15:6b Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teaching are but rules taught by men.”
God speaks to us constantly through these teachings to renew our minds, to make us holy, and pure so He can work fully in and through us for His purpose. He wants us to experience the fullness of His Spirit as the first disciples and apostles did, and clearly many “Christians” today do not follow their example, or the example of the first churches with God’s many miracles, signs and wonders as they lived them out then.
Paul was a very prideful Pharisee, he had many accomplishments, and was looked highly upon by his Jewish family. He was favored by many in his Jewish community. He had many reasons to have confidence in his flesh or his own works. Many today think to themselves, or speak out loud, “What about the church I have been attending all of my life, what about my friends there, what about all I have accomplished there, would I have to give up all that to walk, and talk as Jesus walked, and talked?
Paul tells us he had many reasons to be confident in himself (flesh, works) his religion, and the popularity he experienced from all his work he did for God. Paul takes it one step further and says he had more reasons than anyone did to have confidence in his flesh for all the accomplished work he did all his life before Christ.
Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-though I myself have reason for such confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eight day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.
1) He was circumcised on the eighth day (lived by the law)
2) A person born of Israel (God’s first chosen)
3) He came from the Tribe of Benjamin (One of the most highly respected, but smallest tribes of Israel)
4) He was a Hebrew of Hebrews (As far as a Hebrew, He was on the top of the list)
5) He was a Pharisee (The Pharisee was a Jewish sect that started after the Jewish exile. In addition to OT books the Pharisees recognized orally a tradition and high standards of belief and life. They sought for distinction and praise by outward appearance, outward forms of piety, ceremonial washing's, fasting, prayers, and alms giving; and did not show genuine piety for the widow, poor and fatherless. They prided themselves on their good works, synagogue meetings and appearance, and their knowledge of scripture. They held a belief of a Messiah; and Him saving them from death and hell into Heaven. They possessed great influence with the common people. They were bitter enemies of Jesus and his cause; and were in turn severely rebuked by him for many reasons, their excessive desire for wealth, their fear of losing their popularity with people more than their fear of God, their ambition, their reliance on outward works, and their affection of piety to gain popularity.)
6) He had a great passion for God, by persecuting Jesus Christ and His church
7) Lived by the Mosaic Law, living legalistically righteous, and he did it very well, Paul was good at being good and He took pride in his righteousness. He was faultless living through the law.
We can see Paul had a lot to boast about, but he tells us whatever he thought was to his profit in days’ past, he now considered loss for the sake of Christ. His mind had been completely renewed at the point of this letter to Philippians. All his ideas, teachings, studies, worldly treasures, and pleasures he was willing to give up for the sake of Christ.
He goes one more step and tells us not only did he not profit from those things anymore, he considers everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord, for whose sake he was willing to lose all things. Today many are not willing to lose their comfort in this world like Paul was willing, nor the other disciples and apostles that gave up all they valued in the world that He built His first churches through.
Philippians 3:7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ-the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Paul considered not only were they no profit but a loss, and called them rubbish, (manure) compared to what He could gain from Christ and be found in knowing Him and his Heavenly Father. I can’t imagine Paul’s father’s response when Paul told his father all of what his father taught him through the law was manure compared to what He gained knowing Jesus, hopefully he responded toward Jesus, and not away from Jesus.
Paul would have no fear in telling him because he was bold and fearless in speaking God’s truth to anyone for their benefit. He never would sugar coat God's truth to make it more bearable for someone to swallow, and we should not either. Jesus has a way of working out all of our pride so He can freely speak, and we can freely walk away without any anger or resentment if His truth offends them. Paul was the type that spoke God’s truth when he wrote and when he spoke, because He had fully given God all of himself and his life to use as He desired.
Paul was willing to sacrifice all he gained in the world for Christ. He did not want to have a righteousness of his own that comes from the law, or his own works, but he wanted the righteousness that came directly from God that came through Christ, by faith in Him from all Christ was giving Him was much greater than all he had lost.
Paul was willing to lose Jewish friends, Jewish customs, family, his religion, and all his previous thinking. He knew Christ was willing to give Him all, so Paul was willing to give up all for Christ so His mind could continually be renewed without any limits. He wanted to experience more of His power through His resurrection he knew was already in him. Paul could not get enough of what God was willing to give Him, and we are His children have the same opportunity given to us by our Father through His Son.
Today are we willing not to be conformed any longer to the pattern of the world like Paul? Are we willing to cut all ties that put out the Spirits fire from welling up in us to overflowing with His power and grace? Are we willing to be strangers in this world and be children in His Kingdom?
Worldly trends and patterns are deceiving. Man-made traditions, no matter how good they sound they will not renew our minds, they will deceive and enslave us with illusions. God’s truth only renews our mind and transforms us correctly so He can work in and through us for His purpose. Who is truly willing to give up all as Paul gave up all to gain more of Him our Lord and Savior for Him to work in and through us in His full power through His Spirit as He did then?
If you are willing to give up all that is not God’s truth, He will begin taking you places through His many gifts you might not have seen within you before. You may see more of His many signs, miracles and wonders as His first disciples did. You may have to lose more of this world you may not be willing to give up, but like Paul, what we think we have now will be of no profit compared to the surpassing knowledge of knowing more and more of Jesus. He is waiting to prove this to all of us, as He did then in and through Paul.
Father, help us to completely let go of ourselves, this world, and all the patterns, and man-made customs it lives by. Help us see your truth that your word plainly reveals, and be bold enough to live it out in our lives. Create in us the desire to be living sacrifices for you, so you can fully live in and through us continually renewing our minds so we can live in your perfect will for our lives. We want to know the full power of your resurrection that redeems us. Help us give up more of ourselves, and turn away from this world so you will increase more in us through your healing power and grace that prepares us for your Kingdom. In your Sons, Holy name, Jesus Christ, Amen.