Christian Devotionals

Conformed or Transformed? (1)
'Do not be conformed...but be transformed...' Romans 12:2 NKJV

Chuck Swindoll said, 'We like to imagine ourselves a race of rugged individuals-the Patrick Henrys, Davy Crocketts and Lone Rangers. The truth is, we hate to appear different lest we be ostracized, branded fanatics and rejected. So, we conform. You'll see it in the child eager to please; the adolescent aligning with peer pressure; the adult breaking their back to keep up with the Joneses.' Just being different for its own sake is likely to be worthless, even counterproductive. What God wants from us is our willingness to be radically transformed. 'Therefore, I urge offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.' (Romans 12:1-2 NIV) Here are two important observations to help you reach that goal: First: Transformation belongs to believers. The unbeliever can't break the world's control over them without Christ, but believers are promised: '...the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.' (1 John 4:4 NLT) God's indwelling Spirit enables you to resist the world's pressure to conform you to its ways. Secondly: God's appeal is urgent. 'I urge you, brothers.' Words like beg, plead, beseech are used in some translations because the appeal isn't secondary or optional. It's vital, a divine imperative! God is seeking for surrendered vessels that are ready to be transformed for His use. Are you willing to say, 'Yes, Lord, use me!'

Conformed or Transformed? (2)
Do not be conformed...but be transformed...' Romans 12:2 NKJV

Transformation: (1) Requires personal sacrifice. It's not easy, natural or automatic. It calls for becoming a 'living sacrifice'. The problem with 'living' sacrifices is their tendency to keep escaping the altar, having to be led back repeatedly to be sacrificed again and again. Salvation is an instant, once-for-all experience, but there can be no instant, once-for-all 'living sacrifice'. It's a day-by-day, moment-by-moment recommitment which means bringing our stubborn nature back to the altar, surrendering it to God as often as necessary. Don't wait for your old nature to improve or to agree to die before concluding your sacrifice is truly genuine. And don't let it discourage you in your battle for victory; your old nature and your regenerated spirit are mutual enemies, '...constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.' (Galatians 5:17 NLT) Your job isn't to obliterate the flesh but to crucify it each time it wants to take over, refusing to let it curtail or cripple your commitment to spiritual growth. (2) Is a two-sided issue. '...offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.' (Romans 12:1 NIV) That involves a resolute decision of mind and will, because our bodies don't surrender themselves. Until you deliberately choose to 'offer your [body] God,' your flesh will act unrestrained. '...Just as you...offer the parts of your body in ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.' (Romans 6:19 NIV) When you surrender to your lower impulses, you reap sin. When you surrender to God, you reap His blessing

Conformed or Transformed? (3)
'Do not be conformed...but be transformed...' Romans 12:2 NKJV

What does it mean to give yourself fully to God? (1) It's an act of worship. 'Offer your bodies...this is your spiritual act of worship.' (v1 NIV) Worship isn't just attending Sunday service, singing praises and saying prayers. '...this people...honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me...' (Isaiah 29:13 NAS) It calls for surrendering your heart to God twenty-four hours of every day; whether you're alone or in a crowd, at work, enjoying recreation, spending family time, at school, on a date or just walking the dog. If your heart isn't moving you, your behavior will only be an act of reluctant compliance rather than one of joyful commitment. Surrendering to God isn't a part-time thing done for your own benefit; it's a full-time act of worship done for God's benefit. (2) It's a response to God's generosity. ' view of God's mercy...offer your bodies...' (Romans 12:1 NIV) God doesn't say, 'If you don't surrender I will punish you.' There's no arm twisting. You don't submit through clenched teeth because of fear; no, it's a response to a debt. Everything God asks is initiated by His giving. Your repentance is a response to His love. Your tithe is a response to His blessing. Your obedience is a response to His promises. God's grace is never 'a deal', it's the 'free gift' of His love to the undeserving. (Romans 5:18) Therefore 'in view of'-as a rational response to-His mercy, 'offer your bodies as living sacrifices.' It's your 'reasonable service' and it will be 'acceptable to God.'

Conformed or Transformed? (4)
'Do not be conformed...but be transformed...' Romans 12:2 NKJV

Each time we offer our bodies as 'living sacrifices' to God, our stubborn nature will rebel. But with Christ in control we can break its grip. 'Do not the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.' (NIV) We have the option; be conformed or transformed! Deciding 'I will not conform to the world' leads to a transformed lifestyle. Your old nature naturally conforms, enslaving you to worldly influences. JB Phillips' translation says: 'Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould.' Conforming to the world's values, like sensuality, pride, control etc, will rob you of the liberating power of Christ living in you, resulting in a recurring cycle of guilt, failure and discouragement. Choosing not to conform to this world is what opens the door to your transformation. Unlike conformity, which is externally initiated, your walk with God will become an outer expression of an inner change. The tadpole's life is transformed into the frog's life, and the caterpillar's into the butterfly's. You become transformed from the inside out. How does it happen? '...greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.' (1 John 4:4 KJV) Add to your decision not to conform, your commitment to 'the renewing of your mind' which in Greek text means you think God's thoughts instead of your old thoughts, then watch as a Holy Spirit-empowered transformation begins to take place in your daily life.

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