Monday, December 23, 2013

Bringing the best out of a mess like me

Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG) So here's what I (Paul) want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12: 1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Growing up, I was in church every time the doors were open – Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night. I gave my life to Christ at a very young age (11) but didn’t fully understand the words Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2. Yes, I did feel led to step out of my pew and walk what seemed like miles down to the alter at the front of the church and talk to the preacher that morning. I felt led to tell him I wanted to accept Christ as my savior because of all he had done for me. But offer my body as a living sacrifice? I didn’t know what that meant at all. As a result, in my mid-teens I fell away from God and the church completely.

By the time I was 20, I had made some really poor decisions, in which I didn’t even think about asking Christ to be a part of...I was following the world instead of following him. When I went back to church as an adult (32), I realized how far I had gotten away from God and how much I desperately needed him in the decisions I was making in the midst of my everyday life. Had I not fallen away, I am secure in saying I probably wouldn’t have made the same mistakes…well at least not so many of them. 

My commitment to follow Christ as an adult, has led me down another road entirely. About 13 years ago, as I stood in the middle of a group of people who so desired to be drawn closer to God through singing songs of worship and praise I knew I needed to lay aside my own agenda and follow Christ. In that moment, the tears began to fall like rain and there was no way to control it. Christ was beginning to work in me. I was a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) in Him, being changed from the inside out. Sure my friends saw the same old me, but something had changed. God was at work in the way I saw the world around me. From that day to this, He is transforming me into the person he desires me to be. Like a potter with clay, He has put me on his potter’s wheel and is shaping and molding me. All I have to do is be willing to get out of the way and let him do the work.

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