Find someone and tell them one thing you could change about yourself. It can be anything.
This is the season of transformation. We just want to see the before and after. Because nobody wants to realize how messy and slow and painful and gradual and progressive real change is.
We are in a quick change world.
Liposuction, high speed Internet, we freak out when we can't get to the next web page in .3 seconds. Doctor Phil, he can fix any problem is nine minutes. NOT!
What we believe, it determines and defines so much of how we operate.
When you see the word therefore you ask yourself the question what's it there for? It's connecting your mind to something that was just said in the previous chapters. Romans 1-11 are all about the mercy and grace of God, very deep stuff about how rich He is, how we're set free from the law. And so chapter 12 speaks more directly on how we live.
1) Sacrifice yourself, your whole body to God.
2) Do not conform yourself longer to the pattern of this world.
Don't let this world tell you how to think any longer. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Be changed from the inside out. What God wants for your life is always good, pleasing and perfect.
There are at least four barriers/obstacles to our change. When we recognize them we can deal with them. And when we deal with them we can overcome them.
1) We settle for information instead of pursuing transformation.
Information is not guaranteed to change a thing about your life, if it were we'd all be raptured up to heaven and we'd be perfect. We have plenty of information and when you settle for it without transformation it is an abomination that leads to condemnation. It's not enough to know, what are you doing with what you know?
A lot of us are educated far beyond our level of obedience. We know a lot more than what we do with what we know and what we know hasn't become what we believe because if what we know becomes what we believe than it will become what we live.
We have a lot of information and not a lot of application.
What if you only did 10% of what you knew to do regarding the Christian faith. What if instead of having a teaching on prayer, we started praying. What if instead of reading three books on a healthier, godlier, happier marriage we started paying attention to our wife or husband.Information doesn't change you, information is the raw material that which change can occur.
Information is just the stuff out of which wisdom when applied to your life will be brought forth.
2) We focus on in or out instead of inside out.
This is why change doesn’t happen, this is why our churches can be full of hypocrites. This is why the stuff you need God to pass in your life may be on hold and delayed because we focus on stuff that makes us in or out rather than the stuff that changes us from the inside out thats what transformation is. It’s inside out change, its only heart change resulting in life change.
What we don’t do starts to define who we are becoming on the inside.
There are things we should and shouldn’t do but they should not be the measure by which we define our spiritual lives in God. They are not the ultimate pursuit, He is the ultimate pursuit. His glory through our lives is the ultimate pursuit. His approval and pleasure in our lives are the ultimate pursuit. Not what I don’t do, not what I do.
It’s a whole lot easier to put up fences, separate us from outsiders, then to let God uproot the yucky stuff in our lives and really change it and really turn situations around.
The true question isn’t “Am I in or out? What do I refrain from, from what other people do or what other people don’t.” It’s “Am I loving God and loving people?”
3) We try harder instead of training better.
1 Timothy 4:7-8
Train yourself to be godly.
There are some things you can’t do by trying, you have to train. Discipline brings freedom and training can enable you things that trying never could.
The problem with us making promises to God, trying harder to live for him, is that without the preparation to accompany the promise without a spiritual training program in place to enable we’re guaranteed to fail, no matter how hard we try.
This is why we discipline ourselves in the things of God, this is why we pray. The disciplines in prayer and reading your bible are the avenues by which God can change us. But God’s changing my life is the ultimate goal.
Meeting with God is the seven lane highway through which God brings His change in your life. So to meet with God develop a plan for bible intake, develop a plan to get the scriptures into your life, not just into your mind but into your heart and into your soul. Listen to sermons, so God can continue to speak into your life on a regular basis. Or listen to the bible on a CD, if you don’t want to read the Bible, you can hear it instead. Creatively cultivate your prayer times with God, make prayer times with God exciting. Listen to music, good loud gospel music.
4) We wait for a destination instead of embracing the journey.
You will never arrive, good and bad news. If you’re waiting to arrive than you’re waiting to die, because you’ll never arrive until you’re in the arms of God. As long as you’re breathing in and breathing out God is still working in you.We have to realize we will never be fully freed by the things we used to do but are we becoming
more like Christ, are we progressing, resisting? Are we on the way there?