From The Inside Out
Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
1-2 …Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going to work and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering… Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.
It comes as no surprise to us that being human beings and creatures of habit, many of us may fall into the trap of ‘fitting’ into this world seamlessly because after all, we grew up with all these cultures and traditions. We heard them and we saw them throughout our lives here on Earth. Let me pause here for a moment to just clarify that when I refer to cultures and traditions, it does not solely consist of superstitions and festivities. It could mean anything from the involvement in this present feel-good generation to the ideals and beliefs that wealth is the most important asset one can ever seek to possess. If we were to take a look again at the Bible verses we read earlier, I really love how the Message translation interprets Romans 12:1-2. It says: “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture…” The fact that the word ‘well-adjusted’ is used signifies that we do not belong to this world! Although it is true that we should adjust to and fit into the world, it is really for one purpose, and that is to be able to strike a balance between engaging the world and making sure we do not see as the world sees or do as they do, so that we can act as that channel, that bridge to link up the lost to the Father, that they may receive new life and a new purpose.
The Bible verses Romans 12:1-2 also mention something about laying down our everyday lives from our going out to our coming in before God as an offering. As God’s children, our bodies and even more so, our lives, are holy temples of God. We are sacred vessels that are bestowed with honor. We were made the righteousness of God when Jesus Christ gave His life in exchange for our freedom. When we will ourselves to God’s control and offer our lives to Him, He changes us, He transforms us and refines us that we may slowly, become the likeness of Christ. In this day and age where many of us just get so caught up in our to-do-lists and the hustle and bustle of life, it is so easy to forget our priorities and become so ‘well-adjusted’ to cultural norms that we appear no different from those who do not know Christ yet. We become a silent Christian, a Christian that is perhaps a little too well camouflaged. Recently, I am reading a book that is making quite an impact on my life. The author of this particular book, Michael Phillips, wrote something that I knew was the truth but to accept it took me so much longer. He said: “The greatest gift that God gave to us was free-will… But the greatest gift that we can give to our Father is to give it back.”
Friends, nobody said the journey with Jesus was going to be an easy one, especially if you are lugging a Cross on your back. But God’s ultimate purpose for us is so much more than just blessing us materially in our lives. God, more than anything else, is in the business of fashioning Sons and Daughters, not churning out parrots that just gawk and talk. Everybody can talk, talk is cheap. Therefore, make a commitment to dedicate your entire life to Jesus Christ right from the start, allow Him to use you and I know that you will be changed from the inside out, for the whole world to see.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You that You are the God that sees my future and makes perfect plans for me to fulfill the ultimate purpose You intended for us – to be true sons and daughters that love and trust in You even if we were to be stripped of every good thing in our lives. Father, I know the road that leads to life is a narrow one and one that not many tread on, but Lord I pray that even when the going gets tough and the pain starts to set in my bones, I would fix my eyes on the Cross on which You died and know that there is no greater sacrifice than that which You have made two thousand years ago. Help me to understand that everything You do, You do for my good. I entrust my life to You Lord, use it as You will and change me from the inside out that I may be a living, breathing example of Your likeness for all to see. In Jesus’ Name I Pray, Amen.