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Verse for Today

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye." Psalm 32:8

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Separate Life (Part Two)

By Erika T.

{continued from last week}

So, how can we abandon the fleshly desires and live according to the will of God?  Romans 12:2  says “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.” The verse could not be clearer: before we can live according to God’s will, we need to stop conforming to and “fitting in” this world. The first step is to no longer be like those who belong in this world. I have noticed that when I watch movies and television programs or if I listen to secular songs, something changes in my mind. Even if I am careful to only watch or listen to “clean” things (even with no open or insinuated sin) there is a mentality, a worldly point of view that begins to infiltrate my way of thinking. Before I know it, I suddenly know who the stars of the moment are, what a double entendre refers to, why parodies of the latest movie are funny . . . and I cannot remember last week’s memory verse. I do not know how it happens, but I start to believe certain sins are not so bad. Adultery becomes normal and a half-lie, justifiable. My world, once so white, begins to take on a gray tone so light I barely notice it. But gray tones blur the lines between white and black. Watch out! Conformity to this world comes slowly, subtle and silent, but it’s fatal to Christian life.

The verse also gives a contrast: “…be ye transformed”. This is not just about being different from the world; we need to change our thinking to God’s way and know what His will is. It is a turnaround in our mentality: leaving the world’s knowledge and being molded to have God’s thoughts, to know what His perfect and acceptable will is. How can I think like God if I am soaking in things that have nothing to do with Him? To change our way of thinking, we must surround ourselves only with things related to Him, which takes us to the next verse.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” How does my life measure up? Is the content of that movie true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report (that means, having a good reputation), does it have any virtue (anything just plain good), is it worthy of praise? Are the songs I listen to true, just and pure? Could I describe my conversations with others as good? How about honest? Is my favorite topic of conversation worthy of praise? Will my activities give me a good reputation? Or are they the same as any unbeliever’s might be? If I focus on thinking only what this verse approves, I will probably feel limited. However, as I surround myself with things that please God and my mind is transformed, my thinking will be shaped to be more like His. Suddenly, knowing what the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is will not be so difficult.

We know God wills us to be holy. This is not only a command, as in 1 Peter 1:16, it is also a call. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 the apostle speaks to “…them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” In giving us both these verses, God makes it very clear that being holy is not simply our position, it is something to be practiced. We should live like the saints we are.

The purpose of our Christian life can be summarized in 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The verse clearly gives us a basic guideline for everything we do during the day. Will my plans for this afternoon glorify God? How will God be glorified if I go there?  If I dress like this or talk like that, will I be glorifying to God? Eating and drinking are basic, everyday activities; this verse teaches us that even the most common things in life can glorify God. The question is: do I use my time to glorify Him or to satisfy the desires of my flesh?

As you probably know, holiness is separation. A verse that states it simply is Hebrews 13:13. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Being holy means abandoning the world with its humor, its entertainment, its worldview and its politics. Holiness is not simply separation from the world, however. It is also going out unto Him. If we abandon worldly ideas and activities, it is to take up the ideas and activities of the Lord. We will not just leave the world’s songs, dress, movies, politics and jokes. We will have Christ! Of course, He will give us many things to replace the false joys we lost, but best of all, we will know Him more, we will worship Him more, and we will love Him more.

The following verses express how far we are from the goal, but encourage us not to give up in the battle for holiness. Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” No Christian is perfect. Saying, “I’m not perfect. I’m not spiritual.” appears to be an easy way out; however the apostle clearly informs us that acknowledging this is not reason enough to surrender. We have not yet reached the goal, but “Holiness unto the Lord” is exactly why we were apprehended (seized) by the Him! Each day we can learn more and come closer to the goal for which our Lord Jesus Christ saved us. 

About Erika:
I'm Erika Simone, a missionary kid who loves to sing, read and write. I've lived in Mexico since 1992, and I love the missionary life! God saved me at the age of seven and I've been learning more about Him ever since. He is so very gracious in my life, I cannot describe how wonderful it is to know His love. If you want to read more of my writing I have a blog in English ( )  that I have put on hold recently and a blog in Spanish ( ) where I still post three times a week. 

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