"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, 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. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:1, 2)
The true worshiper of Christ determines God's good, pleasing and perfect will for his life, not through the latest religious fad, but through sacrificial living for the Lord. Obedient Christians are sacrificing self and sin, and have chosen to enter the narrow gate and walk the narrow path which leads to that abundant and eternal life promised by Jesus Christ. (Matthew 7: 13)
One must be careful not to run with men who are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, unholy and without self-control. The Bible says have nothing to do with them. For you will stay uncontrolled, conceited, and a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God. You would end up with a form of godliness yet denying God's power. (2 Timothy 3:2-5) You will find yourself committing sins which are obviously acts of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5: 19 - 21) You will join those who will not put up with sound doctrine and gather around yourself teachers who will tell you what your itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4: 3)
However, you could choose to accept Jesus Christ to be both Savior and Lord, thus discovering His forgiveness, love, and empowering through the Holy Spirit to overcome self-centeredness and sin-centeredness. Those who do have seen marriages reconciled, been delivered from chemical dependencies (alcohol and drugs) and are known to be over-comers. Their testimonies reflect a relationship with Jesus Christ, a changed life.
The first step in understanding Biblical change is to agree with what Jesus said causes mankind to sin. "For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and makes a man unclean." (Mark 7: 21 - 23) The circumstances around man do not cause him to sin, it is what is in the heart of man that causes him to sin.
Dr. Jim Berg uses the illustration of a tea bag to help us understand that it is not financial, social, medical, or circumstantial pressures that causes man to sin. When a tea bag is put into hot water, the water activates the tea in the bag, unleashing its taste into the water around it. The hot water doesn't create the taste, it merely reveals, or draws out, what is in the tea bag. The circumstances around you only reveal what is still in your heart. If you don't like the flavor of the tea, then you must change the ingredient within the bag, or rather your heart.
Your either making bitter tea or tea that is pleasing to God. In view of the price paid for your sins at Calvary, I urge you to look to Christ. Only He can bring about Biblical change.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Brian Mavis on Oct 27, 2000
You share Christ by imitating Christ. A story is told – by Fredrick Beuchner I believe – called “The Happy Hypocrite." It is a story about a man who was born with an awful facial deformity. He grew up alone and lonely. When reaching adulthood, he decided to move from his town to begin a new life. ...read more
Contributed by Richard Crow on May 24, 2001
The Department of Social Services in Greenville County, South Carolina sent the following letter to a deceased individual. "Your food stamps will be stopped effective March, 1992, because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You ...read more
Contributed by Bruce Emmert on May 29, 2001
One of the most touching moment in the Sydney Olympics was when Eric "The Swimmer" Moussambani of Equatorial Guinea swam in the 100-meter free style qualifying heat. The 22-year-old African had only learned to swim last January, had only practiced in a 20-meter pool without lane markers, and had ...read more
Contributed by A. Todd Coget on Sep 21, 2001
Many Christians have been infected with the most virulent virus of modern American life, what sociologist Robert Bellah calls "radical individualism." They concentrate on personal obedience to Christ as if all that matters is "Jesus and me," but in doing so, miss the point altogether. For ...read more
Contributed by Sermoncentral on Sep 21, 2001
THE AGE BAROMETER Change is a fact of life. The older you are the more change you’ve seen. This morning I have a test called "The Age Barometer". By taking this simple test you can determine how old you really are. Give yourself one point for each item you remember: 1. Blackjack ...read more