Tag Archives: Romans 12:1

Exchanging the lies in our life for God’s truth

divine-exchange-by-amy-pape

For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Romans 1:21, 25

 

A couple of posts ago I mentioned Jeff Vanderstelt’s videos on Gospel Fluency.  In his third video he talks about the more fluent we get as believers in speaking the gospel to one another and to ourselves, the more it overflows to others and into more areas of our lives.  It’s about taking our thoughts captive and applying the truths of the gospel to every area of our lives.

When we worship the wrong thing in our own life, we’re just like unbelievers.  We exchange truth for a lie and we pay the price.  We are all idolators in certain areas.  We worship the wrong things until somehow, some way it gets revealed and then we get it straightened out and repent of it. Then we bring it to Jesus to show us a different way to deal with it.

For example, let’s say someone starts grumbling about their boss.  That’s the example that Jeff used in his teaching.  If we jump on the bandwagon and talk about a time our boss was a jerk too, we’re reflecting the same wrong belief–that our hope is in the wrong person to find our fulfillment and accolades.

So instead of agreeing and saying, “That’s right, your boss sounds like an ego maniac,” you could instead say graciously, “You know, she’s not meant to be your all in all, God is.” Supposing this person is a Christian, we can go on to point to how in Colossians 3 we’re told to work for the Lord and not for man and what that looks like.  If they’re not a Christian, perhaps you could say something about how since you’ve become a Christian, God has shifted your perspective to what really matters and where you get your affirmation from.

His next example really hit home.  It was about taking a look at a time (or times) when we revert to a false view of God, believing that He has done things that aren’t really true, then believing things about ourselves that aren’t really true and acting out of those false beliefs.  For example we may get anxious in certain situations because we believe we have to be in control.  This might be driven by a false belief that God has lost control and abandoned us, or that He is absent, impotent or unloving.

Turning this around involves giving myself the Gospel, if I’m the one that holds to this false belief, or to another person that is struggling with anxiety, control issues, or other related problems.  Part of this has to do with looking at Scriptures that show that God is loving, powerful, present, etc.  Another part would be pointing at times in my own life or in the other person’s life when God has shown Himself to be loving, trustworthy, present and powerful.

You would think that once we hear and experience these truths once that we would get it.  But no, we need to hear the truths of the Gospel over and over in all different ways spoken into those areas where we doubt and fear and relapse.  And we need to speak them to each other.  I need to repent in my heart from the false truths that have caused me to be an idolater, exchanging the truth of God for a lie.  I need to exchange the lies for truth, claim the truths of Scripture and write my name on them like on the bottom of a check.  And I need to graciously help others do the same.

It’s funny.  I think I have it all figured out.  And then I get around people who drive me nuts and I start muttering and becoming less kind and gracious than someone who knows Jesus should be.  Or when other weaknesses come popping up like prairie dogs, then it’s time to go back to what lies I’m believing about myself or about God and start over again.  Or if I sit and listen to someone whose weaknesses poke out quickly as well, then I can help them sort through the same process.

Let us not become futile in our thinking and let our foolish hearts be darkened, exchanging the truth of God for a lie.  Instead, let us exchange those devious lies for the truth of God and be changed by them.  Let us speak the good news of Jesus to ourselves and to others so that He sinks deep down into the crevices of our hearts and lives.

 

*Image by Amy Pape


Living Sacrifices

 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Romans 12:1

This is from Dr. Helen Roseveare’s book, Living Sacrifice, Willing to be whittled as an arrow (Christian Focus Publications, 1980)

bookSacrifice is a term of the past, not of today.  Today, no one is expected to sacrifice anything.  We are surrounded by game shows that give you riches if you answer a few questions on general knowledge or guess the right box to open.  The unspoken of the age is ‘if something is difficult, do something else instead.  If something is expensive, borrow it or borrow the money to buy it.’

What place does sacrifice have in this world?  The Bible says it is central–and that sacrifice is not only a key to the future, it is the essence of a Christian’s life today.  God does have a right to demand our sacrifice–with all our heart, soul, mind and strength–and it is our privilege to respond to that demand.  If those words sound alien to you then you may not have yet entered into the joy of Christian belief and service.  The key to an authentic life is sacrifice.  (Taken from the back cover of her book)

Helen was a missionary doctor in the Congo/Zaire.   In 1964 there was a civil war, causing guerrillas to come into the villages and take the teenagers to fight with the rebels and to kill and destroy what was left behind.  A 9 year old, Paul, was trapped by rebels in their Christian school.  The others had fled and it was Paul’s turn to be the last one into the jungle and to make everything look in disarray and take down anything with current dates on it so they would think the school had been abandoned.

He knew he couldn’t tell the soldiers where the other students were, lest they be killed.  He also knew that if he didn’t, he would be beaten and killed.  He prayed to God for courage.  He had only to know Jesus as His savior a few months before.  Certainly there was no one else to help him now.  He kept repeating P-M to himself over and over.  It was the secret code of their youth group.  It was a part of the phrase Pasipo Mupaka, meaning “For Jesus Christ with no limits.”

They flung him around, kicking and hitting him.  Suddenly Paul knew what to do.  He pretended to be Jackie, a deaf-mute classmate who only made garbled sounds and gesticulations.  The guerrillas gave up, deciding there was no school there.  “Under my breath,” he told Helen later, “I kept repeating P-M to remind myself  that Jesus loved me so much that He died for me, and so I could go through anything they did to me, for His sake.”  (pages 18-20)

There is a cost involved in responding to God’s insistent demands on our lives.  But it is also a privilege to share in the sufferings of Christ and to be a living sacrifice “For Jesus Christ with no limits.”