An Appeal

Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:00 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 12 (ESV).

Your Spiritual Worship

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Although Paul does not express this as a command here, that does not mean this is optional or merely a suggestion or a recommendation. In other passages of scripture we are instructed in the truth of what it means to have faith in Jesus Christ. It means we die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we now live holy lives pleasing to the Lord – all in the working, power and strength of the Spirit within us (See Lu. 9:23-25; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; & 1 Jn. 1-5). As well, we are commanded in other scriptures to not be conformed to the world, and to not love the world, but to be separate (unlike; different) from the world, and to be holy, set apart to God and to his service.

Yet, just because we have come to know Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives, it does not mean we will live in absolute perfection from that moment on. We still have the propensity to sin, so we must be urged from time to time to remember what Christ did for us in dying for our sins, and with that in mind, to live like we say we believe. Our lives are to be given completely over to the Lord Jesus as instruments of righteousness, to be used for his purposes and for his glory. We were bought with a price. Our lives no longer belong to us to do with them what we want. Our goal should be to please our master in all we do. And, we should seek his righteousness and not seek after the pleasures and treasures of this world. This is our true worship of God, not merely just singing songs of praise to him.

Not Conceited

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

I have come to realize, over the years, that even someone who is constantly drawing attention to himself or to herself, by putting themselves down all the time, can be just as guilty of pride (conceit) as someone who boasts about his or her own accomplishments. Both an overly developed sense of self-worth (pride in oneself) and an extremely low opinion of ones worth, especially if continuously expressed to others, are focused on self and on wanting or craving the attention of others and their acceptance. True humility is not self-abasing. True humility does not focus on oneself, but is more concerned with others. So, instead of boasting about ourselves in public or cutting ourselves down all the time in front of others, we should think of ourselves with sound (reasonable) judgment.

We were all born into sin. All have sinned. There is not one of us who is righteous in his own merit. So, not one of us is better or worse than others. We are all capable of any sin given the right circumstances. Yet, in Christ we are his beloved, special, called, and chosen ones. We are saved from slavery to sin, we have the hope of eternal life, and we have the Spirit of God now within us transforming us to make us more like Jesus. Amen! All we possess that is good has been given to us by God, so we have no reason to ever boast as though we did not receive it from the Lord. As well, we never have cause to be self-abasing, because we are God’s created works, Jesus Christ now dwells within us, he has made us new creations in Christ Jesus, and he considers us his very special people, loved of God, and called to his service. So, when we think with sound self-judgment, we have no cause for pride.

One Body

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12 expands on this teaching even more, so I would recommend reading that chapter, in combination with this one, as well as to read the first part of Ephesians 4, as they all teach how the body of Christ is to operate. The institutional church of today, for the most part, I believe misses the mark on what this teaches. The Spirit of God is the one who gifts us, and it is the Spirit of God who gives us our assignments (roles; parts) within the Body. The gifts we receive from the Spirit are not to be confused with natural talents and abilities, which all humans have. These are supernatural abilities and job assignments, and they are also not to be confused with specific church ministries as assigned by humans, although we may use our spiritual gifts within the framework of some church ministries.

So many institutional churches operate with man’s way of thinking instead of with God’s. They determine what ministries they will have in their churches, and anything outside of what they have determined is either treated with suspicion and/or with scorn and contempt. Now, I realize there is a lot of strange stuff going on out there in the name of Christ and in the name of Christianity, so I agree we should exercise wisdom and discernment, yet we should not go so far as to quench the Spirit or to put out the Spirit’s fire by excluding members of Christ’s body from fellowship within the body just because their gifts do not fit with our man-made goals and objectives for building earthly kingdoms of human origin. We should never say to another part of the body, “We don’t need you! Go someplace else!”

True Love

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

We live in a generation which was brought up on television, movies, and the like. Over the course of time we have also introduced home computers, laptops, tablets (IPads, et al), and smart phones, et al. So, we are continually being bombarded with the philosophies, culture, thinking, and value system of this sinful world, to the point to where we can become desensitized and not even realize the kinds of things we are taking into our minds every day. The media world mostly does not teach godly love, but it teaches a false notion of what true love is all about, so that even Christians have adopted this false love notion. Yet, even before that, our religions, cultures, family heritage and upbringing have possibly introduced into our minds false ideas of what true love is all about. So, we need to be discerning.

True love hates what it is evil. It does not embrace it, play with it, nor is it entertained by it. And, it certainly does not placate it or encourage it in others. It cares enough about others to weep over it, confront sin, and to show the way out from underneath the bondage of sin. True love clings (hangs on to) what is good (what is healthy spiritually and emotionally). True love looks to how it can help others, so it does not take advantage of others or treat others harmfully. It truly cares, not just about physical or emotional needs, but it cares about the spiritual needs of other people, which is evident in words and in actions. Hypocritical love is that which is deceptive, which practices lies, and that which pretends one thing outwardly in some situations while it expresses just the opposite in others. We need to do more than just say “I love you,” but we need to show we love others by what we do, yet by God’s standards of what it means to love others, not by the world’s standards.

The Same Mind

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It is difficult for one man and one woman who join together in marriage to be of the same mind, let alone for the entire body of Christ to be of one mind. We are all different. We all think differently from one another. And, that’s ok. Variety is good. Yet, here this is speaking of the same mind as the mind of Christ. Our unity in the church should be unity with Christ and his word, and not unity with humans and with humanistic philosophies and values. So, if we are of one mind with Christ, it is entirely possible in this day and age that we may not be of one mind with the majority of the institutional church. And, that is ok, too! The standard for unity and oneness within the body of Christ is our Lord and his Word. Our lives, decisions, thinking, etc. should be based in him, and from that all else should flow. We should daily put into practice the things taught us by the Lord in his word, as we daily walk in fellowship with him, growing in his grace, and living to please him with our lives.

Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence, oh, what peace.
From my self-life He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort, peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully, oh, what love
That He gives me through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus, He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.