Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Transformed by Renewing of your Mind

There is a store called C28 at the mall. The "C28" stands for the Bible verse Colossians 2:8. Although there are way to many to count, this is
one of my favorite Bible verses.

Colossians 2:8 - "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

Christian, Bible-based CDs, clothing and jewelry are sold at the store. The owner's story is an interesting one. His former success in the business world has allowed him to now focus on sharing the Gospel of Christ through the employees at the store and the merchandise being sold there.

Among the many Scripture verses, slogans and bumper stickers
available at the store, there is one that says, "Not of this world."
This is taken directly from Scripture:

Jhn 8:23 (KJV) And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am
from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (emphasis mine)

Jhn 18:36 (KJV) Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (emphasis mine)

One of the purposes of our lives is to become like Christ. God announced this intention at Creation: "The God said, 'Let us make human beings in our image and likeness.' " (Gen. 1:26 NCV) (emphasis mine)

You were created to become like Christ!

"God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son... We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him." Romans 8:29 (Msg)

"We look to this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. " Colossians 1:15 (Msg)

This is your destiny. It is a great privilege and gives us dignity which separates us from all the rest of Creation. We may not know all of the implications of this on this side of heaven, however, we can recognize four things.

We are spiritual beings - our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; we are intellectual - we can think, reason,
and solve problems; like God, we are relational - we can give and
receive real love; and we have a moral consciousness - we can discern right from wrong, which make us accountable to God.

But this image is incomplete and has been distorted and damaged by sin. So God sent Jesus on a mission to restore the full image that we have lost.

God wants us to bear his image and likeness. The Bible says, "You were....created to be like God, truly righteous and holy." Please understand that I am NOT SAYING you will ever BECOME God or even a god. That prideful lie is Satan's oldest temptation. Satan promised Adam and Eve that if they followed his advice, "ye shall be as gods." Cult religions and philosophies still promote this lie today.

God doesn't want you to become a god; he wants you to become
godly - taking on his values, attitudes and character.

Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV) - that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,

Ephesians 4:22 (NLT) - throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.

What does this tell us? God's ultimate goal for your life on earth is not comfort, but character development. He wants you to grow up spiritually and become like Christ. We are to seek out and develop the character described by the beatitudes of Jesus (Matt. 5:1-12) , the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) , Paul's great chapter on love (1 Corinthians 13), and Peter's list of the characteristics of an effective and productive life (2 Peter 1:5-8).

God uses his Word, people, and circumstances to mold us. He wants
us to grow together proclaiming the truth of the Bible, providing the support that we need to grow, and be in and environment to practice Christlikeness.

Of course, becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth. At
the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells us, but spiritual maturity is not instantaneous nor automatic. I often say that sanctification lasts our entire lifetime! Paul refers to this process in Ephesians 4:13 (NSAB) - until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Going back to the "Not of this world" comment. The Bible warns,
"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...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 12:2 Msg)

Here is the NKJV of Romans 12:2 - 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.

We are not to isolate ourselves from the culture for then we will not be carrying out the Great Commission to share the Gospel. Don't be
infected by the world, but do infiltrate the world with the love of God. However, it is important to insulate ourselves by always keeping the Lord in front of us and not compromising any portion of His Word.

What does this really mean?

Rick Warren says it well in the book, "The Purpose Driven Life."

"It means that we make a counter-culture decision to focus on
becoming more like Jesus. Otherwise, other forces like peers, parents, co-workers and culture will try to mold you into their image.
Sometimes, sadly, even believers have abandoned living for God's great purposes and settled for personal fulfillment and emotional stability. That is narcissism, not discipleship. Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny."

God wants us to grow up...like Christ in everything. Ephesians 4:15a (Msg)

11 comments:

Christinewjc said...

Testing comment section

Mike said...

Hi Christine
I very much see the wisdom from God in your writing. Isn't it amazing how He created us with different gifts? A dear brother of mine showed me Romans 8:29 not long after I became a Christian and it has been a verse that often come to my mind. Interstingly enough, I was watching a Christian channel tonight and the preacher was talking about the same thing: to become Christlike. I remember he said that we ought to not only represent Jesus but re-present Jesus to the world. As I was reading the quote from Rick Warren, I was again reminded of what Keith Wheeler wrote in his website: "Ultimately, devotion looks like the object of it's devotion" (http://www.keithwheeler.com/devotional.htm) Actually, I quoted it in the latest post of my blog. You are more than welcomed visit the blog when you get a chance.
Blessings, from your Chinese brother in Christ,
mike

Thomas said...

Colossians 2:8 - "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

I think I'll stick with the basic principles of the world, Christine. I think you'll find that it is your human (all too human) tradition of Christianity that has left you the captive, not I. If heaven is anything like this Christian bookstore you speak of, or like any church I have ever visited, I'll avoid it like the plague.

I am quite certain that when I die that my concious subjective self will cease to exist, and that my body will slowly decay back into its constituent elements, to be abosrbed by either the earth or the atmosphere, depending on whether I am buried or cremated. However, if there is even the slightest possibility that what you say is true, I can look forward to a joyful reunion in Hell with all of my entirely non-Christian family -- not too mention all of my infidel friends and countrymen, all of the great philosophers, artists, writers, and musicians, and the overwhelming majority of human beings that have ever lived besides.

The tortures may be unpleasant at first, but we will endure, for we will have not only each other, but also the satistfaction of avoiding an eternity of listening to Christian radio and holding hands with Oral Roberts and Phyllis Schlafly in your Celestial North Korea.

Christinewjc said...

The Bible states that "God has placed eternity in our hearts." Contrary to what you believe, our souls and spirits are eternal, which means that each of us will go on after physical death and spend that eternity (a looonnngggg time!) either with God or without Him. Our free will choice to accept or reject His provision through Jesus Christ determines where each of us will end up.

I ran across this question and answer quoted by Dr. J. Rodham Williams while researching for another post and thought I'd share it here. I think it points out that God's justice is certainly fair. Please note that these are NOT MY WORDS, but the opinion of the author. You might be surprised how much he agrees with your last post!

Question: When you go to heaven, will you remember those who are sinners and went to hell? If you can, how could you ever be truly happy knowing they are in hell?

In Renewal Theology, 3: page 477, I [Williams]wrote: "Hell with all its misery will be less torment for still sinful persons than to have to live eternally in the presence of a holy God and of those who are continually praising His Name." Again, "the punishment of hell, whatever its measure, will be far less than the punishment of being in the courts of heaven; the fire of Gehenna far more tolerable than the brilliance of God's face; the outer darkness of the nether world infinitely more bearable than the splendor of heaven's glory." The saints in heaven would not be happy at seeing sinners having to endure all this.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Mike,

Welcome to my blog! Enjoyed reading your post here and plan to visit your blog real soon.

I have a meeting with a missionary visiting our neighborhood in about 45 minutes so I will need to post again later.

Just wanted to say hi and welcome!

In Christ,
Christine

Thomas said...

"The brilliance of God's face ... the splendor of heaven's glory" ... My god that does sound awful. It's a good think that it's all just a fairy tale invented to amuse the elderly and keep little children in line.

Seriously, Christine, we get maybe 80 or 90 years at tops to enjoy this little planet we live on, and it is mighty splendiferous as it is. The glory of the heavens unfolds every clear night above us, a beautiful vision of the infinite comos of stars and galaxies, reminding us of what an eerily small phenomenon we are in this universe. And while the countenance divine has yet to shine forth upon our clouded hills, we can take endless delight in the infinite beauty of our fellow men and women, the wonderful joys of sex and music, art and nature, science and poetry.

The whole world is yours to relish in, but there isn't much time. Enjoy it while you can.

Christinewjc said...

Thomas,

Oh I do enjoy all of those things and experiences on your list. However, every one of those experiences cannot possibly compare to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord; while at the same time, each of those things done in accordance to God's laws are enhanced by his presence in my life.

In addition, all of those worldly desires and pleasures fall away as dust when we die.

Rick Warren once stated (paraphrased), "explaining eternity to finite man is like trying to explain the internet to an ant." We cannot possibly know all about what eternity will be like. The Bible gives us only a glimpse. We see through a glass darkly. However, we do know who holds our final destiny in eternity in His hands. The only thing that counts at our physical death is where we stand when answering Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?" The question all of us must answer at the Great White Throne judgment will be, "what did you do with the life I have given you?" We will all stand before God to give an accounting. Either our individual sin is applied to our own individual soul and we are held accountable to God for it, or, it is covered by the saving grace of Christ through his redemptive work at the cross and our sin is forgiven. Christ's righteousness is then imputed upon us for our salvation.

Christ is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Him.

I don't expect you to even care. The Bible says that the Gospel is "foolishness to those who are perishing." So be it. I do pray that one day the scales will be lifted from your eyes before it is too late.

Thomas said...

"To see a World in a grain of Sand,
And Heaven in a wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your Hand,
And Eternity in an Hour."

-Wm. Blake

Christinewjc said...

The high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in that high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I refresh the humble and give new courage to those with repentant hearts."

Isaiah 57:15 NLT

life's journey said...

Hi. I'm new to this blogging thing. It is so complicated to comment without having to start a blog and I don't want one. christinewjc, thanks for your blog! I've read many of the stories and clicked on some of the names of the people and you should know they are saying the most evil things about you! They are disgusting! I wouldn't even let them post here. Don't waste your time. You should see what Thomas and his troop are saying about you personally on other web sites.
Thank you though for your beautiful words for each day.

Christinewjc said...

Hi life's journey,

Thanks for visiting my blog! It always warms my heart to hear that people's lives can be touched in a positive way by the sharing of God's Word.

I can't blame you for not wanting a blog of your own. The anonymous nature of the internet allows for people to (unfortunately) spew their hatred towards anyone who disagrees with them. Sad but true. In fact, I know of people who have been treated much more horribly than I by them. Truly a pathetic bunch!

I'm not concerned about the people who say negative things about me at their blogs. Jesus told us to expect it! They certainly reveal their true natures as nothing more than a vile, hate-spewing group of people!

I could easily delete their posts and screenname links to their blogs. But I think it is actually a good thing for anyone visiting here to see their two-faced nature and their mindless, heartless, immature and disgusting blathering! My first glance at some of their blogs showed me that they are hurting, suffering people who are involved in deep deception. Those who attempt to reach out to help them are the object of their spite, anger, fear and hate-filled remarks. As a result, I see them as hurt people who are only out to hurt others who live differently from them. Mostly, they attack people whose faith in Christ is strong.

I refuse to play in their games. I refuse to post at any of their ridiculous, twisted evil and petty blogs! I answer posts with legitimate questions/comments at my blog and other Christian blogs and that's it. I have found that one by one they all left my blog anyway and no longer post here.

Throughout my journey in sharing the Christian faith, I have found that when someone turns their life over to the saving grace of Christ, it is often ridiculed, demeaned, and seen by those not willing to repent as something to be avoided. They hate to hear God's Word and the truth revealed in the Bible. This is the basis of the unregenerate heart. They are in desperate need of the Lord and perhaps the only thing we can do for them is to pray for them.

I hope you will visit often and share some good thoughts of wisdom!

Christine