Fundamentals Of Finding God’s Plan Part 31

1 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.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

The book of Romans is a letter written by Paul to the entire church in Rome. It was not addressed to just ministers.

Paul’s exhortation for his readers to present their bodies as living sacrifices was directed at the entire church in Rome. There were no exceptions!

Peter told Cornelious that he had seen God did not favor one person over another (Acts 10:34). If this is true, then it would be just as important for us to present our bodies just as Paul encouraged the Roman believer too.

I have previously stated that I believe that our first step to unlocking the plan of God is our willingness to become living sacrifices. This is the first step and in verse two we find the second.

It is not enough for us to become living sacrifices. We must also renew our minds with the Word of God. This will require complete submission to Scripture.

Paul told the Galatian believers that the path to overcoming fleshly desires would run through the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16). The Holy Spirit will always work in alignment with Scripture. 

We limit the Holy Spirit by not building our foundation on God’s Word. This is the reason we must renew our minds to the Word.

Society is moving at a rapid pace towards destruction. It is easy for a believer to get caught up and be distracted by the things around them. Spiritual progress will require us to slow down and spend time waiting on the Lord.

The path God desires for us to walk moves in a direction opposite from that which the world is traveling. Instant gratification is the focus of our culture but it is not the focus of God’s kingdom. Discipline is required to slow down and spend time meditating on His Word and wait in His presence.

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

We overcome the world around us and the desires of our flesh by walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. He desires to spend time fellowshipping with us (2 Corinthians 13:14). 

There are many Christians who continue to struggle with things they have been set free from. I believe the primary reason behind their struggles is a lack of recognition that the Holy Spirit is a person who is with them 24 hours a day.

Paul directed his readers to first become living sacrifices and then to renew their minds with God’s Word. We must become grounded in God’s Word! Satan can take advantage of Christians who neglect Scripture and have not built a foundation for their life in it.

Jesus did not leave us alone (John 14:18). He sent the Holy Spirit who is dwelling in the spirit of every Christian. The Spirit will guide us step by step through the process of unlocking the plan of God if we will acknowledge His presence and look to Him for guidance.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2

We are encouraged by Paul’s words to resist the world’s attempts to “conform” us to its ways of living. The Greek word translated “conform” means “to pour into a mold” or to “be or become similar in form, nature, or character”.

We live in a society that will exert an enormous amount of pressure on us to be like everyone else. This is not the way Christians are called to live. Our flesh will desire to “conform” to those around us but we must resist!

I have worked in an environment in which the culture revolves around alcohol outside of the office. Staff members ordered drinks during lunch and any staff get-togethers outside of the office would usually include alcohol. 

Coworkers at this company could not understand a person who would not participate. At first, I tried to join them when invited to lunch or dinner but realized this was not conducive to my relationship with God. We are called to shine the light but not to place ourselves in a compromising position.

It affected my career to be the one not joining in with the crowd. Choices like this are not easy on the flesh but they are required if our goal is to walk in the plan of God.  

Earlier in the study, I compared the pursuit of God’s plan to a person riding in a canoe on a river. It is easy to let the current carry us but requires effort to turn a canoe in a direction opposite of that. The plan of God will essentially require us to turn our spiritual canoes in a direction opposite that which people around us are traveling in their canoes!

It is not difficult for us to find examples of the ways society works to mold us into its ungodly image. Internet browsers are filled with ads depicting ungodly lifestyles as is television advertising and even the billboards we pass as we’re driving each day. It is difficult to turn on the television anymore without finding content filled with ungodliness and death.

We are called to live separate lives. This is not possible if our focus is more on being accepted by society more than our relationship with God. The world is becoming much darker and it is time for the Church to stop trying to be accepted by being molded into the image of culture. 

It is time for us to become lights shining in the darkness. This will not happen until we present our bodies as living sacrifices and renew our minds with God’s Word!

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