Exhortation to the Renewal of the Mind
General idea: Paul calls us, his church folks and then urges us passionately that God's will is to think rightly of His precepts. Then Paul pleads with them to make their faith real so it impacts others around them. Then he gives us all a simple way we can do this: To see our life as an extension of God's grace and hands, so we are willing and able to be lined up to Him, so we can be better used by Him. We are called to be a living sacrifice, which means we are to be living, growing and performing agents of God. We are not alone in this essential manner, as a Christian the Spirit transforms us completely, all we are and then all that we are to do, our will, plans and our opportunities (2 Cor. 3:18). And we cannot do this unless we give up our selfish will over to His (John 3:30; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:1-14)!
And the incentive for us to surrender to Christ is that His Way is better than ours! He gave us a gift we cannot fathom, yet alone earn the gift of grace and eternal life, so why would we not seek to please our Living Loving Lord? Then Paul tells us that God's will is us being willing and able to please Him and serve Him. This is accomplished when we are on guard, that the distractions of the sinful life to not entice, motivate or divert us from Him and His plan for us! The call is simple, be willing to allow God to transform you and not the world, simple yes, but it takes diligence of our efforts from the trust we have in Christ to succeed! When we do this our thinking, attitude, mindset, all the we are in thought, will change and then impact all that we do in life.
· Do not be conformed... refers to that our mind and thinking must be based on Christ and Scripture, that the Spirit guides us in (2 Cor. 4:18; 1 John 2:17). If not, the culture and pleasures of life will sweep us away from God's best for us. This is our Christian life and purpose!
· Age, refers to "evil powers" and "amoral acts" the worldly sinful temptations in our human culture, whether it is tradition, custom, ritual, or rational. Our standing before our Lord is solely upon His mercy, thus we are to reciprocate it; such as since God forgave us we need to forgive others.... Thus, do not just ask God to use you, but rather give yourself to Him to use!
· Renewing of your mind is changing our pagan or even Christian mindset away from our selfish nature to His character. Until we do, the deeper things of God's will, will not be available to us. Our ideas and attitudes directly shape our values and lifestyle. To get it right, we are to be shaping our mind to God's Word (Rom. 8:5-9; 13:11-14; 2 Cor. 4:18; 1 John 2:17).
· Transformed, the opposite of obedience is not just selfishness or laziness but rather, creating your own opportunities with zeal instead of the Lord's. That is, misplacing your passion on the wrong things (1 Sam. 15:22; John 7:17; 13:17). We are to cling to His highest standard, not compromise to the flow of the group we hang out with (peer pressure). Will you obey?
· Acceptable, means God accepting a sacrifice. When we debate with God and refuse His guidance we lose sight of His path, and fall in rocky terrain, stop, drop to your knees, and wake up to Him (Eph. 4:30). The question is well we be dedicated to our Lord or to ourselves (1 Cor. 6:19; 9:27; Gal. 2:21; Phil. 2:12)?
· d. Being freed from sin must show a response and a responsibility, so what is yours?
Theology is our boot camp and the army is our duty in application. Yet, it is the least thing considered by the average Christian's pursuit, especially those who never take ownership of their faith, who grew up in a church and see it as cultural and duty, and not devotion and lifestyle. The danger is for the Christian to sit in a pew, learn all that they can, and take comfort in that knowledge, but never do anything with it. It is the church that refuses to evangelize, the Christian that refuses to share their faith, or model Christ on Mondays, as well as Sundays: Be aware you will be harshly judged, you are no better than that of the Pharisees (Hos.6:6; Mica. 6:6-8; Matt. 12 9-14; James 1:21-27)!
1. How were you (or are you) affected by peer pressure in school (clothes, job, car, friends, etc)?
2. Is the word doctrine a friend or a foe?
3. If you have ever seen or done an oil change for a car. Have you noticed the dirty blackness of the old oil verses the golden color of the new oil? How is this like renewing your mind?
4. Does this word doctrine cause you to wonder the power and majesty of God or fill you with fear that you will not understand or that it does not matter?
5. Have you considered that Christianity is like a football game? Thus, the church is the dugout, Christ is the coach and the flied of play is the community and world around the church. So when the players/believers have a huddle/committee meeting do you go back to the dugout after or play the game?
6. What would it take for the committees of your church to see the ministry is what you do after the meeting and not the meeting itself? Just as for the ball player does not go home after the national anthem.
7. As a Christian a time must come when the reality of who you are in Christ must hit home in power and conviction. Has this happen to you? If so how, if not what would it take?
8. Why would the Holy Spirit be hindered to transform you if your will is in the way?
9. Pharisees have a bad reputation in the church for good reason. Paul's concern was that Christians would turn out like them having the knowledge, but ignoring the application. Why did he have that fear?
10. The purpose of doctrine and study of His Word is not just the knowledge but it is what we do with that knowledge that is our supreme goal. Why would this be true?
11. Why is it so hard for so many of us Christians to have a relationship with the Lord that is transparent (out going, honest and real), and not secretive?
12. Has the reality that you belong solely to God, not to yourself or anything else hit you? If you have not, what would it take for you to dedicate the right to yourself over to Christ?
13. It is easy to die for a cause, but are you willing to live for Him?
14. How can you live the life of faith in perfect obedience (as much as you can), so your life is poured out, that your strength is gone and you rely on His?
15. What does "reasonable service" mean to your daily life?
16. Service is something we do because we are dedicated to live for our Lord out of our gratitude. But we all have different definitions of dedication. We do not earn points by our service nor need it for our salvation. So what level and time commitment should you serve Him?
17. Do not be conformed... to what, what entices you away from our Lord?
18. How could evaluating your gratitude help you grow deeper in Christ and be more of an impact to those around you?
19. How can you renew your commitment to Christ? When and how will you do it?
- When you do that the deeper things of God's will be available to you. We do this by reshaping our mind to God's Word. How can you put this in to practice?
©1998, 2001, 2005, Rev. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org