“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”Romans 12:1-2
I recall so vividly those struggles that surrounded my every move as I endeavored to live for Christ and at the same time not be identified as one of those who was being described as a : “Thou shalt not…”! Trying to distinguish from what was questionable, what was definitely objectionable, and what clearly a “Thus saith the Lord”.
My answers came quickly on some issues, others took time. The first thing was my new found friends who kept me so busy that I did not have time to do some of the things I had once found high on my list of activities. They kept me occupied with Bible studies, prayer meetings, and sometimes just listening to Christian music and discussing the transition that was taking place in our lives without someone saying: “Thou shalt not!!!”
A couple of years slipped by ever so quickly! I began to feel that God wanted me to become a minister of the Gospel. In conversation and study I sensed that I at least needed some additional knowledge of the Scriptures. Major decisions were placed before the Lord in prayer and within a few months I was in New Jersey studying.
When I was about to graduate, a church called me to be their pastor; Patsy and I were married and we assumed our responsibilities with enthusiasm. It was during the initial studies in Romans that God spoke to our hearts. Romans 1:1 said: “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God”. We were not just “bond servants” but we were “called” and “set apart”. We did not know what God had for us, but we did know it would be unique.
As I reflect, I can hear Patsy saying: “I am glad that we are at the conclusion of our ministry and not the beginning.” There is no longer a thirst on the part of the saints to be separated unto the Lord; they are more interested in being entertained. The music no longer beats to the rhythm of the heart. There appears to be a complete loss of “separated unto the gospel” with only following of the Lord at a convenience level. The list is without end as a showboat mentality pervades our “Christian” society.
What about the time spent in reading the Scriptures? What happened to the mid-week prayer meetings? Do we find ourselves sucked into the worldly way of doing things or living that separated life? Is the commitment to Christ as personal as it should be? How concerned are we about those who are lost, without Christ? Am I “old fashioned” or am I wrong concluding that the average Christian is caught up in the idea of identifying themselves with the world, but justifying it by flying the flag at half mast?
God calls us to be “separated” unto HIM … To be “living sacrifices”! (Romans 12:1, 2)