This morning as I was washing dishes I received a short message: "Be transformed by the Word, not moved by the culture." Then I go to my table to look at my daily devotional calendar for January 1 and the first line of the devotional was: "Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed," which was supported by the provided scripture, 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."
The other scripture given for the day is one of my favorites: Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Then the verse of the day on Bible Gateway was Isaiah 43:19 "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
So maybe the devotional and given scriptures were strategically timed to bring in the new year just as everyone else is setting resolutions for change, but I wasn't thinking about anything but the dishes when that personal message popped into my head.
Pastor Bruce Goodwin spoke briefly yet powerfully last night about changing the way we live our lives so that we do so unto GOD, not unto ourselves. There is no way in the world that we can stay focused on living unto God when nearly everything and everyone we hear, read and watch around us celebrates and promotes living unto self. "Do what makes you happy," "Find your passion," "Follow your heart."
No, there's no way in the world we can live unto God, but in the WORD, we absolutely can get to a place where we learn and delight in God's happiness and pleasure, His passions, His work and His heart, and make them our very own.
God's desire for us to be transformed by the Word and not conformed to this world not only benefits His Kingdom but also benefits and blesses us as individuals. He desires to do NEW things, GREAT things in, through, for and around us. There is no amount of willpower or work within us (alone) that could ever equal the level of NEWNESS and GREATNESS that God can and WILL manifest in our Christian walk/lifestyle, our Godly influence and our Kingdom power when we are united with/to Him/His Word.
It's perfectly acceptable to gripe and moan in the workplace about the people we work with, the commute, the pay, etc., because, "Everybody does it!" It's so acceptable for Christian ladies to dress provocatively now because it's actually not even considered provocative anymore; "It's fashion." I watched a video the other day of a married Christian woman married to a Christian man wearing a top that revealed front cleavage and side boob. This isn't about judgement - these are mere examples of just how easy it is to lose sight and reach of true holiness and transformation in this world because of the culture.
Dressing provocatively, complaining at work, and many other useless, non-beneficial things we do every day are not going to send us to hell or make us lose our salvation. They are not going to make God love us any less. But how do they affect our Christian experience? Are we fully living in the power and knowledge of God as our Father intended? What about our influence - do we even have any over those who are watching and listening to us speak about Jesus being The Way to salvation and holiness when our lifestyles look no different from the unsaved? How are we representing God to the world? What is making us truly stand out and draw people in to learn about Jesus?
I'm speaking to myself today because I know that I'm not living my, or God's intended best life right now. My Father wants so much more for and from me than this...and so do I.
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV