Last week, Rod encouraged us to not let a known personal problem or sin stop us from pursuing God. God meets you where you are, but calls you to where he is. This week, Rod explains some ways to keep our minds on God.
The pursuit of God is a journey. In the letter to the Romans, Paul wrote of this same topic and encouraged the church at Rome to pursue God. He wrote, “…in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”.
Remember, a living sacrifice will struggle to keep it’s own life. The old life, the old attitudes, the old habits that don’t honor God will want to hold on, but because of God’s mercy you can honor God and let go of the old. It’s not about rules, it’s about the redeeming and transforming work of Jesus Christ. Not about what you do, but what you allow Christ to do in you.
The transformation to be Christ-like, a little Christ, a Christian is a journey. Once you come to Jesus you become a good work in progress.
Jesus wants to love and transform people. People are not transformed by attending a church or believing a certain fact about God. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, born of the Spirit, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” Humans are born by other humans, but spiritual life is born by the Spirit of God.
The power of the Spirit meets an imperfect and broken person exactly where he or she is at. The Spirit does not wait for a person the be transformed to better living before he meets them. Rather, he meets a person in their sinfulness and starts a life long process of transformation.
The Christian life is all about relationship. As long as you live, you will continue the transformation from sin to godly living. The Spirit transforms certain sinful behaviors soon after a person is born again and other times that sin is released years later. The spiritual effect of sin is taken care of and settled the moment the Spirt gives rebirth to a person, but the transformation from sinful to truly good living is a life long process.
As Christians, we must see others as Jesus sees us. Sin abounds and problems exist and we must seek out relationship with others in prayer and with much wisdom. Do we ignore our own sin? No! Do we celebrate and smile at the sin of others? No! Does that then mean you hate yourself and beat yourself up when you sin? No! Do you seek a way to reveal another person to their own sin? No! Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit will reveal my sin to me and their sin to them. My job is to love unconditionally, accept without reservation, and be ready to offer forgiveness 24-7.
By doing this, we will begin to see as Jesus saw, feel as Jesus felt, and do as Jesus did. As this begins, we will find ourselves living and acting like Jesus did. He did not condone sin, but he did not make a point of specifically condemning everyone’s sin. Rather, he was filled with compassion and he told the truth in living relationship with others. When sin was identified and spoken about, he always did it in such a way to help a person better feel the love and better know the wisdom of God. Even in the dramatic confrontations with the religious leaders, Jesus did not bluntly call out their own hypocrisy just to prove them wrong. He was provided a relationship with these leaders and he boldly cut through the garbage to show them the love of God. He offered loving insight to point a sinner to the awesome love and fullness God offers.
The books of Acts tells of amazing miracles that occurred by simple pronouncement or a gentle touch. Regular people who loved and worshiped God were used by God to bring astounding healing to the sick, the oppressed and even the dead. The first Christians lived by a simple expectation; Jesus saves, Jesus heals, and Jesus empowers. Over the last one hundred years in the American church there has raged a debate as to whether miracles happen today. From the extreme on one end saying miracles ceased when the last book of the Bible was written to the other end that says a miracle happens every time we just say it and claim it. Preachers boldly preach that all claims of modern miracles are fake and other preachers boldly pretend to fake it. What is lost in this debate is a love for one another and the truth that the name of Jesus heals in miraculous ways when our faith and His power meet. There is great power in the name of Jesus!
The power of God exists to make Himself known in ways that a person needs at the exact time they need to know it. The man at the gate called Beautiful in Acts 3 waited his whole life for the power of God to meet him in a personal way. Peter and John came in a humble manner seeking to give the love of God to anyone who needed it and wanted it. They said “Silver and gold I don’t have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus, stand up and walk!” They gave healing and salvation by the power of God; the same power available to you today. Be a disciple of Jesus and let God show up in whatever way he chooses while you seek to do what he does and love how he loves. Bring salvation and the full loving power of God to everyone who needs it.