Living Differently – Response
You’re not pulling punches, huh? Just coming out of the gate with weighty questions. We couldn’t go back and forth with some pleasantries to start?
Well you said it, give up our bodies as living sacrifices and do not conform to this world. You know the biggest problem with a living sacrifice? It keeps crawling off the altar. Every one of us is trapped in this body of sin (Romans 7:24). We have our flesh, our feelings and opinions that are based on our experiences and selfish desires. Unfortunately, we then try to make God’s Word go along with our feelings and opinions.
Have you ever taken note of your personal struggle with this while preparing lessons? How do you in your walk learn to distinguish and separate the Spirit from your flesh?
We’re told in Romans 12 to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.” That’s not just our actions, time and energy. It’s our feelings, our opinions and our desires, too. This world is a sinful place, filled with sinful people who don’t believe in God. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” (1 Corinthians 5:12a). So, to answer your question, I believe the Christian’s role is. . .Salt and Light! Salt preserves and light shines (Matthew 5:13-16). In 2 Thessalonians 2:7, Paul tells us how the powers of the Antichrist are already at work in the world and the only thing holding it back is the Holy Spirit of God in us. The love that’s been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) is preserving this earth. If we, the believers, are not acting out of love instead of according to our feelings and opinions, then we’re just contributing to the problems.
The second part of our role in Matthew 5 is light. To put it as simply as Jesus did,
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heave.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
We have to honestly ask ourselves, are my words and actions truly bringing glory to God, or just promoting my own opinions? Do the things I say and stand up for cause others to see the goodness of God? We all have different responsibilities in how we accomplish this (We’ll get into that more in Romans 12:3-6), but it can’t be about how we see it, it can’t be about what we want.
To answer your last question, “What does being transformed by the Spirit look like in this modern world?” I would say, give up of yourself (your feelings and opinions) and change how you think. It’s about loving others and bringing glory to God. Salt and Light!
So Ryan, since some of us might be called by the Spirit to be bold in certain situations (the founding fathers were!) and Paul tells us “to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands. . .” (1 Thessalonians 4:11), how do you find your own personal role while being transformed?