The busyness of life is slowing, the challenges are being set right and the rest are moving forward again. Not sure if I can write every week but I will return to this love and passion of mine, writing. I had the privilege this week of writing a new devotional for our morning class at church. I asked the group to send me their favorite characters and if they could change something, if they had all power what would they change? Here is what I received and placed into words.
Romans 12: 2
2 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.
I dare say that anyone one of us if given the sovereign will and power to perform any action, would declare something meaningful, something worth value, and something that changed people’s life for the better. The effects of Sin would be gone, never to be seen again. So why? Why, did God with all His sovereign power, with the very words He speaks, not create a World were Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control ruled the day?
Let’s look back at Genesis and the Garden. We find Adam and Eve living the very life I just described. They personally walked with God, talked with God, and learned directly from God. You could say they were being created in Mind, Body, and Spirit allowing them to see the new creation as God saw it. God knew that if there were to live with a true Love, and a deep Joy, with lasting Patience, and all that followed, His creation would need the option of choice. He plants one tree in the Garden that is forbidden, “Don’t eat this fruit, it brings with it Death!”.
Adam, standing at the side of his wonderful gift Eve, watches as evil starts talking. Temptation is speaking and the new creation is hanging in the balance. Adam remains silent and God does not swoop in to save the day. Eve takes the bite and hands it over to Adam, still silent he eats. They enjoy the fruit, but something starts to change, they are being transformed into the very beings they were never created to be, they became human, and Adam knew it would happen but gave into the pleasing fruit hanging on that tree.
The sea of Humanity continued to fall deeper in the pit of sin. Marriages coming and going, families torn apart, children left alone or worse hurt and beaten. They left their God given instinct and performed all manner of evil toward each other, there was no true Love, or deep Joy, or lasting Patience, Self-Control was all but gone. So, a flood came, God wiped out all that He had created, he even regretted making Man.
A new creation was started with Noah. Trouble started again almost immediately, the people were united, they all spoke the same language, and even had a central focus to build a tower. The structure would reach the skies, and in so doing they lived in peace and harmony. What was the challenge, this should be a great time in Humankind’s history? But the foundational goal of the tower was, “to make a name for ourselves.” We wanted to be God, we wanted to control our own destiny. If we could build this what else can we do as a unified group of people? God in his sovereignty, gave them different languages and spread them throughout the World.
He then chooses Moses to lead His people to a promised land where they could be His chosen people. They would learn to live a life separate from the world around them and trust God for all their needs and He would direct their steps. Instead, they grumbled and complained. They wondered around for years looking for this promised land and then when it was there, just over the river they were scared and frightened. God, in His faithfulness still moved them toward their new homeland, their new life with Him as the central focus of all they did. They wanted a king; God was their King, but they wanted to be like everyone else in the land and have their own flesh and bone, king.
God gave them several visual moments allowing them the opportunity to turn back to Him. One of those moments was Ruth, she wasn’t born into the family that God had chosen but she married into it. She lost everything, her husband died, she left her homeland, and she left everything she knew of life. Why, because she fell truly in Love, finding Kindness, Goodness, and Faithfulness in her mother-in-law.
Ruth 1: 16-17
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!”
Now in God’s sovereignty He sends His only Son, Jesus to lead us back to Him. I wonder how I would have sent Jesus, maybe it would have looked a great deal like the disciples thought it would. Jesus would come and take over the World and set us right by His power and might. But instead, He came as a small baby boy, living in a carpenter’s home, following the law, and learning the traditions of men. In my sovereignty, if I were granted any, He would have chosen an army of the best trained and brightest minds. In God’s sovereignty, he chose fishermen, he chose the unloved, and he chose a tax collector.
In God’s sovereignty he met a young lady who was full of demons, Mary Magdalene. He released her of this evil and drove them out. The sin, the evil, the thoughts she once had are now gone. Her life is now a clean slate, she gets to start over, but how do you start over? What is her new purpose in life and what is God’s will for her life? In His sovereignty, why Mary, if we think about it why Noah, why Moses, or why me? Mary is the first to the tomb, the first to see Jesus alive again, the first to tell the others, WHY, transform this little girl that had fallen into a life of demon possession.
You see Mary transformed her thoughts and way of life, how? In the book of Revelation, chapter 4 we find several images around the throne of God. Let’s focus in on four creatures: a lion, an ox, a human face, and an eagle. They have eyes behind, forward, and all around. They seem to be able to see the past, the present, and the future. But having multitude eyes that can not only see but understand what they are taking in. They are brave like a lion, strong like an ox, having a breath-taking view as an eagle, but looking like us all the while with a human face. What are they doing each day, giving praise “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty! The one who was, who is, and who is still to come.” Mary now saw her life intertwined with the Almighty Savior, and it consumed her to the point of continual praise.
We find Paul telling us in 1 Thessalonians 5, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you, who belong to Christ Jesus.” Paul, is God telling us to be thankful for Adam’s disobedience, for those who lived united in Babel but focused on the wrong goal, for the children of Israel’s constant complaining, for the evil we see today, even on the smallest of us, our children?
It all seems too much, when we look at life through our eyes and our own thought process – it is all overwhelming and so difficult to take in. So, let’s go back to Romans 12, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You see, this is the will of God, this is God’s command for us. In His sovereignty, he has placed His spirit inside of us. We are to be His people consumed with showing forth the wonderful praises of his Glory and Grace.
So, take a bite of God’s spiritual fruit, and live out the will of God with a new mind set, a mind set on your heavenly Father who wants to walk with you each day. He will talk with you and create inside of you a new mind, a new body, and a new spirit that lives in God’s perfect will and sovereignty.
Galatians 5: 22-26
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.