Summary: God’s mercy is the key part of a Christian’s commitment to God. In return, we are to show mercy to others. Christian life is marked by transformation and growth in discernment and understanding.
How do you think of yourselves? There are two options. We can allow our lives, values, attitudes convictions and relationships to be influenced by the world, or we can be remodeled, transformed, reshaped and redesigned from the inside out by the Holy Spirit.
How can we know God’s will for our lives? If we are not careful, we can mistake God’s will for something else, and we will be intimidated by fear. Well, fear not, because the will of God is realized by the direct influence of the Holy Spirit. To find God’s will in our lives, we don’t have to be supernatural. All we have to do is know how God speaks to us and how we hear him. It’s about learning how to spot his will when we see it and then choosing to follow it.
What is God’s will like? God’s will is good. That means that God has the highest and best goals in mind for us. God’s will is also acceptable, which means that is well-pleasing and agreeable. God’s will is also perfect, which means it meets the needs of the person.
So how can we know we are in the will of God? There are four steps:
1. Be sure we are already in the habit of obeying God.
2. Decide to always glorify God spiritually and physically.
3. Read and study the Bible constantly.
4. Associate with fellow believers in a church where we can receive faithful teaching based on God’s Word.
There is a note of authority in the words we read from the apostle Paul in Romans 12:1-8. He reminds all Christians that we must be careful in how we evaluate our own lives. This evaluation must come from a mind that has been transformed by faith in Christ, and not by a mind that has been influenced by the world. This evaluation must be based on the gifts God has given us and how we use them. We need to have a godly sense of self-worth. It provides a safe, stable middle ground while being at the heart of a peaceful life.
Paul uses the analogy of the human body to describe the unity all Christians have in Christ. We are the eyes, ears, head, hands, legs and feet of Christ. All Christians are part of one body of Christ, all of whom have vital parts that work together. Each part is different, but the parts need each other. Christians have individual gifts, and these gifts are really a gift of God’s grace. They are like parts of a human body. When one part of a body disappears, we look for it. Do we look for a member of the body of Christ when that member disappears?
If we truly understand the price of our salvation, we will want to give back to God out of gratitude and thanksgiving. When we truly understand God’s mercy, we will want to worship him with every ounce of our being. God’s love and sacrifice for us will motivate us to love and to sacrifice ourselves in return. That sacrifice involves using the gifts he has given us to do his work in our world. If we want to be the people God wants us to be, we will do what God wants us to do.
Once we are consecrated to God, we must not allow ourselves to be conformed to the world and its sinful nature. We must be guided by the Holy Spirit. This guidance involves two aspects. First, as committed followers of Jesus all of our actions must be in harmony with the will of God as spelled out in the word of God. If we meditate on God’s word daily, it will shape our thoughts and help us to be more Christ-like. Then we will act in a way that pleases God. Second, we need to know what our gifts are and how we can use them to serve God. We have to get the best training we can to sharpen these gifts and use them to serve others. We serve God by serving others.
No one can even begin to imitate Christ’s ministry on his own, because his abilities and ministries were so varied. When we come together as one body we can collectively demonstrate the many and varied forms of ministry that he wants to perform through our united effort. The Holy Spirit gives each of us the correct portion so that we can fulfill our individual roles within the entire body of Christ.
We have to consider our roles within the body of Christ because each of our roles is different. Each role is represented by the individual gifts believers have. One of the spiritual gifts is the gift of prophecy. Old Testament prophets along with some of the New Testament prophets, had the gift of addressing the future. Modern prophets don’t have this gift. Instead, they are teachers and proclaimers of God’s truth. My own ministry is a good example. When I preach, I teach and proclaim God’s truth. This ministry has taken place within this parish and within the wider community in churches such as Zion United Church here in Liverpool and Bridgewater United Church.