God just makes me smile! I was just looking at my blog posts and thinking man…I really need to get to my next entry. It has been brewing in my mind off and on for a number of days. The last two weeks at “virtual church” we sang a song that put lyrics and music together that depicted this message so well, “Living Hope”. Guess what song started playing on Spotify just now. Yep! “Living Hope”! As I often do, I will include the song at the conclusion of this post. May it stir in you praise and gratitude toward God! To Him is our answer!
As I reflect upon my journey one common theme that often strikes me is Death and Life. As the Holy Spirit nudges, pokes and even smacks me some times, I have grown to see how my sin causes death in me. The sin, whether sexual lust, impatience, critical spirit, envy, jealousy, idolizing man, or whatever it may be, essentially eats away at whom God has created me to be. He knows exactly the man that He (God) created Stan Newton to be in his fullest, for His (God’s) purpose. He as my creator knows me best, knows exactly how I can best be a son, brother, friend, teacher, counselor, member of a church and community. Likewise He knows you best and whom He has created you to be.
Romans 12:1-2 is one of my favorite verses and sets forth quite a challenge: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect“.
I am drawn to three key words in this verse. 1) Sacrifice. As I consider it, it represents for me personally the areas of “self desire” that I need to sacrifice or give up in order to really come alive to God’s perfect will and plan for me. What I think and feel is good and right is not always right! All too often it is quite self-serving; not God serving. Hmm. 2) Transforming. I need to have my thinking transformed towards God’s ways and not my ways. I pray often, that He transform my heart as only He can, ultimately to get my attention, stir conviction and change my heart and thinking toward what is right and then to sacrifice my self-serving motives to His greater plan and purpose for me. 3). Perfect. Uh. He, as the creator of not just me but the entire world, knows what is best. Consider it!
It’s a process! While I am saved from the death penalty of my sins, I am continually growing and learning those areas that require sacrifice. As those change, I feel more alive; living life more fully as he intended. In that comes joy! There are seasons that seem to boom with conviction and transforming heart change, while other seasons may be quiet or slow.
I think this is where I shall end my thoughts today, seek Him to transform your heart to be the man or woman of God that he is calling you to be. He is our Living Hope to truly LIVE and have JOY! ~Stan