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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Completely Changed

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy,” Paul instructs, “to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV).

Life is full of events, habits, and circumstances that upset and irritate. Those irritations can either spur me on to greater spiritual growth or they can destroy what God wishes to produce in my life. Whether good or bad, my life is a result of my attitude. “Rejoice always,” Paul encourages, “pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV). It is God's will that I have a good attitude in all circumstances. It is His will that I rejoice no matter what happens. It is His will for me to surrender to the lesson and not the circumstance.

In this Scripture in Romans, Paul urges his readers to honor the love of their Savior who died to set them free by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform their lives. Do I attempt to live a life that pleases God? Do I have a sacrificial attitude? Do I allow the Holy Spirit to make me a living sacrifice? Or do I fight against God and the lessons of life? Strength, joy, peace, and a no-matter-what trusting attitude come from surrender to God's perfect and pleasing will for my life. Surrender is not an option, and it certainly does no good to rage against my circumstance. When God’s incredible mercy is my reason for living, then surrender is something that comes through the renewing of my mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. I yield to His lesson for my life. I sacrifice my fight against powers that are beyond my control, and gracefully accept His lesson. Through His discipline and pruning in my life, I am changed to become more like Him. Learning God's lesson for my life becomes my passion

Over half a century ago, Jim Elliot, a young Presbyterian missionary, was killed in Ecuador by Acua Indians. His wife, Elizabeth, wrote years later about her husband’s passion for the lessons of life. “Discipline is the wholehearted yes to the call of God. When I know myself called, summoned, addressed, taken possession of, known, acted upon, I have heard the Master. I put myself gladly, fully, and forever at His disposal, and to whatever He says my answer is yes.” Nothing will destroy me when I know myself as called to give all to Him. Nothing will come against me when I yearn to know what strength He gives me in the struggles of life. I can discover that I need “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV).

What is the cost of my surrender? Letting go of who I think I am–letting go of my desires–letting go of my agenda–letting go of my control in every circumstance and every situation, and allowing God to lead me. When I let go then I have counted the cost of surrender, and determined that letting go is worth everything for what I receive in return. I am set free from all that has bound my life. I am completed changed and made new–just as Jesus always intended.

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