I am raising up a generation that not only knows Me, but who are bold and ready to take on the lies this culture has promoted. I am calling young, old and all those who have My Spirit, to be My bride, My army and My church. This people will not back down in the face of adversity but will stand for truth and life. Choose now who you will serve. Will you serve this culture or will you stand for truth?
My choice, My Purpose, My Mercy, My Compassion, My Desire is for you. I sent My Son to die for you. If I am for you, who can be against you? Believe. Romans 8:31
My child, there are two roads to choose. My road leads to a fruitful, satisfying life filled with abundance, joy and peace. The other road leads to misery, poverty and death. You choose which road you will walk on. My road takes faith and perseverance. The other road looks easy, full of pleasure and instant gratification but it is a deceptive road. The lazy are on that road as well as the fools. It is up to you. Take My road and live and prosper or take the easy way and perish.
Failure to resist sin opened up some pretty significant questions for me: why would God give me instant relief from some sins while allowing others to remain? Why not just give me victory over all my fleshly weaknesses so I wouldn’t have any problem in wholeheartedly living for Him?
The answer is choice. Our confrontation with sin in the weakness of our flesh—not the least besetting sin—continually presents us with choices to make. It’s fundamental to God’s plan for us. He has set things up in such a way that, while there is certainly an immediate and absolute aspect of our redemption now, the final redemption our body is a future event.(Romans 8:23) So, even though we have His Spirit as a guarantee, we still have a rocky road to travel. And our choices along this difficult road tell the tale of our faith, or its lack thereof.
God has a solution to besetting sin. So we must never attempt to justify sin in our life—no matter how or when it might crop up. Sometimes we try to blame besetting sin on some sort of character flaw. But that’s not the real issue. Sure it’s a character flaw! But not in the way psychologists might define it—not as something we simply, by virtue of our nature, are never able to overcome.
Each and every one of us who comes to Christ has a deficiency in our character. And though it may take years to work through the difficulties resulting from such weakness, it’s important to understand that God never meant besetting sin to be a lifelong problem.
Are we able to bear fruit without being meaningfully transformed? Yes, in scant quantity and meager quality we can. But without a true metamorphosis we’ll never be successful in bearing the kind Jesus wants—“much fruit.” For this reason transformation is absolutely essential to fruitfulness in God’s kingdom.
There’s no question that God wants to see us radically changed. And since we know we can’t transform ourselves, He must have a method to accomplish it. But the big question is just what that plan consists of; how do we get from here to there? Well, God has His part in the process, and we’ve got ours.
If transformation is ever to become a reality in us, we must cooperate with God as He goes about working in our life. The beauty is that freedom from the power of sin makes choosing to walk out our faith in this way possible—in spite of the weakness of our flesh. Because God has done what He has through Christ, it’s now all about choice! But submitting ourselves to God for what is likely to be a very arduous journey is never an easy choice to make. Nevertheless, we can do it! Aided by His power, we can become the kind of Christians we intuitively want to be as a result of our redemption. God Himself has put that desire there.
Yet truth be told, we often have to come to the end of ourselves—finally fed up with failure—before we can actually bring ourselves to make that commitment. You may be at that point in your life right now! If so, unconditionally give yourself over to God, and then take action by submitting to His will. Sometimes we think that giving over our will to God is a one-time event. Not so. Rather, it’s a choice we make day by day. And making daily progress toward transformation entails following well-defined steps: God’s Game Plan. We’ll be talking about what that involves.
Jesus said that abundant growth is not only possible, but to be expected from ground that has been cultivated for God’s purposes. Our job is to prepare the soil of our heart to receive that growth. Paul knew how vital it is to press on toward this goal: “to present your bodies a holy and living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”(Romans 12:1) No, presenting ourselves in this manner won’t be the immediate fix we all long for, but rather a pushing forward; it’s what it means to live our life in a manner pleasing to Him.(Colossians 1:10)
Given the proper conditions, metamorphosis will just naturally continue on its course. Let’s think about the butterfly. What chance do you suppose it has of reverting once again to its original form—the caterpillar? Zero, right? Having undergone such transformation, it can never return to what it once was.
Making godly choices sets us on that same road. Early in the process there are lots of opportunities to slip back under the spell of the old self. But over time, as we experience degrees of transformation, the likelihood of that happening keeps diminishing. Consequently, the further we’re transformed, the more likely it will be to come to full fruition.
Godliness is devotion which is characterized by an attitude toward doing that which pleases God. Make no mistake about it: both devotion and attitude are choices made by an act of our will.
To be sure, this is what has been set before us as believers: to pursue a life pleasing to Him, or not to pursue it. Deciding whether or not to pursue intimacy with God has its rewards, and its consequences.
Ask any parent. Ask them what they value most: an adult child who desires to be close for the sake of relationship itself, or one who relates to them either from a sense of obligation or from a selfish fear that they might forfeit something of personal benefit. They’ll tell you! The parents love both children equally. But which do you think will receive more attention from the parent? Which deserves the richness of their full companionship and support?
God is like that. Because of His love, He doesn’t reject His children when they don’t show much interest in pursuing Him. And He doesn’t get much pleasure from those who pursue Him merely from a sense of compulsion or requirement. Just imagine, though, how thrilled He must be with those whose motives are pure—who want Him just because He’s Dad.
Attempting to gain acceptance with God by our own goodness merely results in dependence on law as the basis for our righteousness. But it goes without saying that earning our own way with God is at best an exercise in futility. For this reason, God, knowing the limitations of our flesh, resolved this issue once and for all by laying in us a foundation of holiness—His holiness. And only on such a foundation can a life pleasing to Him be built. It’s God’s exclusive platform for growth and transformation.
So we’ve got to get over the idea that being a Christian means having the power in and of ourselves to increase our holiness. Rather, this new life in Christ is all about God’s Spirit interacting with our own so that we are now capable of making godly choices. And godly choices is what cultivates the transformation of our character.
Given the fact that we can never gain God’s acceptance through our own efforts to become more holy, just what is our responsibility toward seeing that holiness (sanctification) comes to full fruition in our life? Well, obviously the duty to live our life in a manner pleasing to God is the first step. But what’s our next step—how do we to go about pursuing it?
Our mindset is the answer to this question. Paul exhorts believers to “set your minds on the things above,” and assures them that “the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”(Colossians 1:1-3, Romans 8:6) After all, that’s what godliness is: devotion which is characterized by an attitude toward doing that which pleases God. And make no mistake about it: both devotion and attitude are choices made by an act of our will.
My child, what stands between you and joy is your choice to live in communion with Me or not. Joy flows freely when you abide in Me. What people lack most in life is joy. When they see you they see a reflection of Me. Let My love and joy flow through you today. Make the choice.
It’s a wonderful thing to have such utter confidence in the fact that our freedom from law and sin has allowed us to share in God’s own righteousness. And that’s not all! Our redemption is set in stone—a salvation and heavenly reward that no one can strip away from us. But standing in such a marvelous and rock-solid hope carries the danger of breeding complacency. “Now that I’ve got my ticket to heaven, what more do I need? Why worry about it?”
Such an attitude is always rooted in the self-centered belief that, at the end of the day, our relationship with God amounts to little more than making a better life for ourselves here and now, with the added bonus of a fabulous heavenly life later. Sadly, this is the way many Christians think about God and His purpose for their life. But it really shouldn’t surprise us much; multitudes of voices unrelentingly and convincingly preach this very message.
This watered-down gospel, though, has no real basis in Scripture. Quite the opposite actually: devotion, selflessness and discipline bear the true mark of a godly person. “Godly? Who said anything about godly? I’m just glad I’m saved!” Well, saved is wonderful, but our reconciliation with God encompasses a whole lot more than merely our initial regeneration—no matter how dramatic our born-again experience might have been.
The primary reason for God doing all He has through Christ Jesus is to pave the way for godliness to become the standard of our life in Him. Salvation, then, is merely the starting point in our walk with God. Through redemption, we are provided the framework essential to choice. And choice by faith is the very heart of our life—and growth in that life—as Christians.(Titus 2;11-12)