For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
We move along the path of God’s plan from “faith to faith”. God will only reveal what we are able to handle. As our faith grows so also will our capacity to receive greater revelation of the plan.
There are things that God has planned for our lives which may totally overwhelm us if we were to see them today. For this reason we will only see small bits and pieces as we are able to receive them.
Walking in the plan of God can be frustrating to our flesh. Our natural desire will always be for things to move much faster than they are. We will want to see the whole picture but will only be given a one piece of the puzzle at a time.
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.
God’s will for every person is for us first to become living sacrifices. This is where we all start. This is a process that will continue our entire lives. It will require us to put all of our selfish desires and ambition to death. The old timers used to call this process dying to self but this phrase is rarely used in most churches today.
When we become living sacrifices we will stop begging God to bless our efforts. We will not need to ask His blessing on our plans because they will be fully surrendered to Him and therefore guaranteed to be blessed!
Have you ever considered what a sacrifice is? It is something that is strapped to the altar and not given any choice but to die. It is at the mercy of the person making the sacrifice. Paul is exhorting us to willingly place ourselves on the altar of God and die to our selfish desires and ambitions. This is not natural and our flesh nature will fight us.
Every person was born with a self centered focus that flows from our fallen nature. Take a look at a newborn baby. They do not care if their mother is lacking sleep when they wake up at night screaming. Their focus is solely on their needs and will not blink an eye at causing their mother or father to lose sleep.
Babies grow up in the natural. Unfortunately this is not equally true of spiritual babies. Many Christians never grow in the things of God and are easily offended at the slightest things. There are people who have left churches over something as silly as having a guest sit in “their” seat.
The natural tendency of our flesh is to be self focused. Our self nature is the beach head providing Satan access to our lives. We see an illustration of this in the first temptation shown in Genesis.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Satan’s goal was to cause Eve to question God’s Word.
“God is keeping something from you Eve. What do you think He is trying to keep you from obtaining by not letting you eat that fruit.”
Everything in Adam and Eve’s lives was perfect. There were no storms, famine, or death. They lived in a perfect climate and God had supplied all of their needs. Satan tempted them with the thought that God might possibly be holding something back from them. This was the same God who took time out of His busy schedule to fellowship with them on a daily basis!
They were tempted to selfishly think about themselves and their needs. This is the same strategy Satan has successfully used against millions of people throughout the ages.
“They aren’t using me in the right area at church. I’m so much more gifted than this!”
The Lord led me to attend RHEMA Bible Training Center in 1990. I’ll never forget arriving and attending the first church service. My home church was nowhere as large as the church on campus. They were building the church building and meeting in the campus gym/rollerskating rink.
I’ll never forget the first service. I walked in and saw the sound boot. They would set up on Saturdays and their equipment was impressive to say the least!
A door was opened for me to meet the church sound engineer. We talked and he invited me to join his team of volunteers starting the next Saturday for setup. I left that conversation thinking of how exciting it would be to work with that equipment. My selfish nature kicked in and I could not stop thinking about what people were going to think as they saw me working with that equipment. I had a completely self focused motivation that seems to permeate many Christians lives today.
Saturday arrived and I showed up on time to begin my training. We started with a team meeting where assignments for the setup were passed out. I was assigned to be a mole. They were setting up a temporary stage and the mole would grab a cable and crawl under the stage to where it would be fed up to a waiting team member who would then connect it to the proper speaker or microphone. The whole setup took several hours and I spent the whole time crawling under the stage!
They had me assigned as a mole for my entire year working with that team. The church auditorium was nearing completion so there were opportunities to help with audio setup there. At no time did anyone get to see me working with the equipment because I never even got close. This was extremely hard on my selfish nature but it was a necessary work that God called me to. It was also a year of great growth and learning.
Many people get hurt in church. They have a totally different idea of what it means to serve in the Kingdom of God. It is only our selfishness that is making us so aware of what other people are doing wrong. I’ve learned to stop and examine myself anytime I allow myself to get hurt by what someone else is doing.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
The word “mortify” means put to death. If something is dead it will not respond to harm done. You can walk up to a dead corpse and spit on it without offending it! A corpse will not notice if we ignore it or don’t talk to it. We respond and allow ourselves to become offended by other people’s actions because we have not put to death our flesh nature. This is will keep us from fulfilling the plan of God. It is why Paul encouraged his readers to first become living sacrifices.
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