Summary: Last week I preached on 2nd Cor. 6 where Paul talks about not being yoked with unbelievers. But how can we know if that’s happening to us? In order to find out if we are heading in that dangerous direction we need to ask ourselves some key questions.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I’M BECOMING YOKED WITH THE WORLD?
INTRODUCTION: Last week I preached on 2nd Cor. 6 where Paul talks about not being yoked with unbelievers. But how can we know if that’s happening to us? Oftentimes it’s not easy to tell. Satan is tricky; he’s subtle. It starts with one and like a trail of bread crumbs he tries to get us to follow it until we are trapped. So I think in order to find out if we are heading in that dangerous direction we need to ask ourselves some key questions.
1) Do we want to conform or do we want to transform? Rom. 12:1-2.
In view of God’s mercy, our response should be to honor him with living for Him. Since we have received undeserved grace we should respond by sacrificing our will for his. There are those who do that consistently and there are those who do that sometimes and there are those who rarely do that. Maybe we start out the right way but along the way we start to drift, then we start to compromise then we start conforming more and more and transform less and less.
In doing so we care less and less about being holy and pleasing to God. We lose sight of his mercy and grace. We don’t strive to be different anymore we instead blend back into the pattern of the world. The will of God becomes less important to us because it ceases to be good, pleasing and perfect to us. Instead, the world becomes good and pleasing to us.
However, when we are appreciative of God’s mercy toward us we will dedicate ourselves to holy living. We will make a commitment to not live by the pattern we once did but we will change-we will be different-we will be focused on changing our mindset. That’s where it all starts-the mind-if our thoughts are transformed then so will our actions be.
And if our mindset is transformed to focus on spiritual things then we will be able to not only discern what God’s will is but also we will approve of it. If we are conforming back to the way of the world then we are disapproving of God’s will. We are not seeing it as good and pleasing; we are not seeing it as something to follow and be connected to.
We can know God’s will but not approve of it. I can know what God wants me to do and I can know that God wants me to avoid certain things but not care enough to do something about it.
But if I dare to be different, if I care to be transformed then I will not only know God’s will but I will also want it; I’ll be able to see that God’s will is the better thing. And that means I will be acting in wisdom. If we want to avoid becoming yoked with unbelievers than we need to respond correctly to God’s mercy. If we want to know God’s will then we need to commit to being transformed.
2) What is my heart set on? Col. 3:1-17.
Since we have been born-again we need to set our hearts on spiritual things. Because our old self died and we have been raised to life we are called to put to death whatever belongs to our old ways-the ways in which we used to walk and live. We’re not to be connected any longer to sexual immorality, greed, impurity, lust, anger, rage and malice, slander and filthy language.
Since we have taken off the old and have put on the new we need to connect with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love and peace. Setting our hearts on things above requires us to replace old behaviors new ones. It means getting involved in positive and meaningful activities. We used to spend time doing ungodly things but it’s not enough to just stop-we need to replace them. And if our vulnerable time is Friday or Saturday night it’s important to find something positive to do on those nights.
And we begin to fellowship with new people-like-minded people. Obviously one major way we do that is by getting connected to a local body of believers. In doing so we begin to build new relationships, get involved in new activities and eventually we get involved in some type of ministry. As we do these things we become stronger and we develop the tools we need to be able to continue to stay clean in a dirty world.
But it all starts with setting our minds on it. This goes along with being transformed by the renewing of our minds. We need to set our minds on overcoming ungodliness and instead obtaining godly attributes. Our focus and goals need to be pursued with a heavenly conviction. When we set our hearts on something we need to ask ourselves, “will this please God or just me? Could this advance the kingdom of God or only the kingdom of Derrick?” If our goal is that everything we do will be done for the glory of God then we have a heavenly mindset.