by Lorraine Rainford – article April – June 2019
The apostle Paul states in his letter to the Galatians, that he is in terrible pain until Christ is completely and permanently formed within them. (Galatians 4:19)
The Heavenly Father wants this too. He wants you to be just like Jesus.
This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. (Eph 4:13)
The Heavenly Father intends for Christ to be the first of many brethren, (Romans 8:29) you being the second, the third, the thousandth, the millionth brethren/sibling of Christ, thinking and acting like Christ. Becoming like Christ is a process that involves a dying to one’s self: to one’s desires and thoughts and an embracing of the will of God, that is, His desires and thoughts.
This death to self is impossible without God’s direct intervention. God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him. (Phil 2:13) God supports the believer but it is our responsibility to do what the Word says we are called to do.
…So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved.
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing. Then you will be the pure and innocent children of God. You live among people who are crooked and evil, but you must not do anything that they can say is wrong. Try to shine as lights among the people of this world, as you hold firmly to the message that gives life.” Philippians 2:13-15
Living as the above states, honors God. He is encouraging you to be aware of the world you live in and to set out to be obviously different and recognizable, as light is, in darkness.
There are some things that you have been told to do. Pray without ceasing. Put on the whole armour of God so that you may stand. Love the Lord God with all that you are and your neighbour as yourself. Obey parents for this is right. Wives, respect your husbands as is fitting in the Lord submitting to them as the church submits to Christ. Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Obey the rulers who have authority over you, for to disobey is to disobey God and heap condemnation upon yourself. Even Jesus showed obedience by coming and suffering on earth for our sins. Obedience to the Word of God is critical to our relationship with God. Obedience is compliance with an order, request, law or submission to another’s authority. (Why obedience is important to God? newtimes.co.rw)
A few years ago our electricity bill was consistently going up. What is worse, we could not understand why. Others in our community had larger electric loads but paid one third of the bill we had. I was encouraged by a friend to illicitly pay an employee of the power company to “fix” my meter so that the bill would not go above $6500. Our bill was tending toward $20,000. She explained that she does it and so do many other persons because the power company often overcharges those of us who pay our bill to make up the shortfall of others who for some reason cannot be made to pay their bills. Situations like this are rife in my country. Christians and non-Christians give in to the pressure to pay bribes to get things done without hassle.
There are many situations like this where it has become the norm to carry out or condone acts that are clearly out of step with God’s standard. Having sexual relations outside of the confines of marriage is no longer an issue of note to many, so Christian parents ignore or are silent about their adult children’s sexual encounters. There is also the belief in some circles that you have to see how the fiancé is “in bed” before the marriage.
These examples are obviously out of step with God’s character and are clear acts of disobedience. My pastor and his family were in an accident where their aged vehicle was hit by what seemed to be a taxi driver. The damage to their car though substantial for them, was less than the damage to the taxicab and the taxi driver was the one who erred. They decided to extend grace to him, “you fix your car and we will fix ours,” they told him. “Bear ye one another’s burden,” is another of Jesus’ commandments that directly hangs from the second greatest commandment “love your neighbour as yourself.”
Our only response to an all knowing, all powerful Creator is obedience. He places value on your situations based on His plans and knowledge. While you look at outward appearances, God looks at hearts. Jesus Christ knows that, the heart of men is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Doing what God wants, despite what you want and no matter how well intentioned or how difficult it seems to be, is the requirement of Scripture. This is difficult in a body that struggles to do what is right. Your old nature, though dead, needs to continue being killed everyday, as you work with fear and trembling to find out what it means to be saved.
In Psalm 119, the writer expounds on his love for the Word and its effect on the lives of those who seek to know and do the Word, (also called, the law, testimonies, commandments and righteous judgements)
“How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways.” Psalm 1119:3-4 (CEV)
It is a perfect example of the fact that reading, meditating and doing the word is critical to making decisions inspired of and by the Holy Spirit.