Summary: Message 3 in our discussion of the foundation elements of a healthy walk. This message continues fleshing out the first element of continually cultivating a dynamic relationship with God with a focus on renewing our thinking.
Chico Alliance Church
“CPR for a Healthy Walk" Part 3
Paul identifies an internal war between the flesh and the spirit for control of the soul. We only have the strength to wage this war when we have a strong heart. We must focus attention on four areas of the daily walk if we are to restore a spiritual focus in a fleshly, sensual culture. In order to live according to how God created us to live, we must return to a spirit based life and not a flesh based life. The flesh wars and against the spirit and the spirit wars against the flesh.
I. Continually cultivate Relationship with Christ
A. Humbly Connect to Christ
B. Gratefully consecrate (present) your members to His service.
• Paul maintained a deep desire to glorify God even in his body.
• He viewed his body as a vessel that housed and displayed Christ.
• Paul kept his body in subjection in order to be the best possible servant.
• Paul realized that reward would be granted or withheld according to the things done while living in these bodies.
• Paul warned the Corinthians about improper use of the body.
• Paul exhorts us to glorify God in our body.
• Paul maintained an awareness that these bodies were a temple of the Holy Spirit.
• Paul taught that ownership of our bodies transferred to God through great cost.
• Paul declared that these bodies were made for the Lord and the Lord for the body.
• Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to maintain their vessel in sanctification and honor not in lustful passion as the Gentiles who did not know God. (1 Thess 4)
• James warned about the difficulty of controlling the tongue that affects the whole body.
• Paul also held out the promise of future glorification of these bodies into the image of Christ.
For now we grown inwardly as does all creation awaiting our full adoption and redemption the full redemption of these bodies. (Rom 8), As a demonstration of our gratitude for God’s grace and mercy, we are urged to not only offer our core self but our bodies and soul as well. We offer our bodies a living sacrifice, set apart for special use and well pleasing to God. Is the life of Christ reflected through our very bodies?
Paul calls for a point in time action commitment. Do it now and do it whole heartedly and completely. It is like a marriage commitment. We selflessly commit to give all that we are and have to another. When we fail to live that commitment we do not get remarried. On the basis of that commitment we go back to living that commitment. As opposed to giving our bodies to be burned, Christ calls for a living sacrifice, one that will go on living for Him. The problem with a living sacrifice however, is that it keeps crawling off the altar. Paul calls for a very serious commitment. Until such a commitment is made, we cannot go any further in cultivating our relationship with Christ. Like making a commitment to your spouse and then refuse to give of your body to his or her service. That refusal to totally give of yourself and your body stands in the way of intimacy. If you have at one time made such a commitment to Christ, but have fallen back into a self-focused life, you need not do it again. If you fall, go back to the original commitment. Admit your unfaithfulness and cry out for mercy and the grace to live in faithful obedience and a life of a selfless living sacrifice to him.
This is the gateway to fruitfulness.
This is the gateway to abundant life.
This is the gateway to meaningful life.
C. Continually renew the thinking
This is another element urged by Paul in Romans 12
Present your bodies as those who have already presented yourself to God and experienced new life.
The goal of connection is life and much fruit
The goal of consecration of our bodies is God’s pleasure
The goal of renewing the thinking is transformation and demonstration of God’s perfect will.
1. Renewed thinking brings transformed living
In contrast to being “conformed to this world” by the distortion of our thinking, Paul urges us to be “transformed to Christ’s likeness” by the renewing of our thinking. This is the Greek word “metamorphosis” to be changed from the inside out. To experience an external change based on inward character. To be “conformed” is to experience external change based on external pressure. Paul pictures a continual transformation through the use of a present tense verb. By using a passive form of the verb, Paul also indicates that this is something that happens to us by reason of something action upon us. This same word is used to describe what happened to Jesus on the Mount of “metamorphosis”. He was “transformed” before them. The glory of the divine nature of Jesus broke through the veil of flesh to radiate to the outside to be seen by the disciples. We too are to allow the glory that is ours by reason of the new creation to radiate through our very bodies (previously dedicated as a living sacrifice) to become visible to those around us. Present your members and renew your thinking and experience transformation into His image.