I woke up this morning in a bit of a fog. Yesterday was an emotional day. Memorial day weekend is always an emotional weekend for me, and this year I was unable to participate as much as usual, and I think that made it a bit more difficult. I think of the price paid by the young men and women that have died defending this country and my freedom. I cannot help but look at what Christ Jesus did for me to save my life from sin and death!
The price paid by the Son of God was His death, burial, and resurrection. My heart breaks because we so often forget the price of our freedom, both physically and spatially. It is easy to take both for granted because we have this adversary that tries to distract us with more “important” things in hopes of stealing our focus from God to ourselves. Then this morning I saw this quote, and I thought of Romans 12:1-2
The quote speaks of ships and water. Romans speaks of worship and protecting our mind. Just like a boat can sink if the water leaks in so can we sink if we allow the distractions of the world to leak in.
I love Romans 12:1-2. It is often a part of my morning prayers.
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) 1 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. 2 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.
As I read that I think of what a gift that is to be able to present myself before Him as spiritual worship and with the strength of the Holy Spirit guard my mind against the lies of the adversary that I might not sink. It takes me to 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-22
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22
Paul gives us a list of tools to help us conform with Romans 12:1-2.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (ESV) 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
As I walk through the world every day the adversary tries, with his lies, to set my priorities. He tries to numb me to the price that has been paid for my freedom. He tries to turn my focus from Jesus and things above to only things that I can see, and he uses his whole tool box of lies to do it. Not only does Paul warn us but so does Peter in 1Peter 5
1 Peter 5:6-11
He reminds us to humble ourselves before the lord and warns us of the adversary.
1 Peter 5:6-11 (ESV) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
What power there is in this passage, but we are not alone in our struggle nor our salvation. We have our hope in Christ Jesus, and He has overcome the adversary. As I ponder that a bit it takes me back to the original lie that got me started this morning. It is a passage in Romans 12 as well.
In my ESV translation, this passage is titled “Marks of a True Christian.”
Romans 12:9-21 (ESV) 9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I love this passage, and it reminds me of the love I am to share.
As I reflect on all these passages, I do not want to be distracted. I do not want my ship to sink. I want to hold fast to what is good and abhor all that is evil. The only way I know to do that is to keep the armor of God on my person. How it shines is less important than how well I use it.
Father, help me that I may present my body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to You, as my spiritual worship. 2 Help me not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of my mind, that by testing I may discern what is the Your will, and what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Thank you, Lord in the name of your blessed son Jesus Christ, Amen!