“If this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings;” – 1 Peter 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
As children of God, we have to know that we have been empowered to live practical, fruitful and effective lives because we have been changed from the inside out. Apostle Peter says that God has given great and precious promises through which we are able to participate in His divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
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A LIVING SACRIFICE TO GOD
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. 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.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,“I will take revenge;I will pay them back,”says the Lord. Instead,“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.In doing this, you will heapburning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” – Romans 12:1-21
God has good, pleasing, and perfect plans for His children. He wants us to be transformed people with renewed minds, living to honour and obey Him, because He wants only what is best for us. He gave His Son to make our new life possible, we should joyfully give ourselves as living sacrifices for His service.
Paul warned Christians: ‘Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world’ that are usually selfish and often corrupting. Wise Christians decide that much worldly behaviour is off limits for them. Our refusal to conform to this world’s values, however, must go even deeper than just behaviour and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind. Only when the Holy Spirit renews, reeducates and redirects our mind are we truly transformed.
Healthy self-esteem is important because some of us think too little of ourselves; on the other hand, some of overestimate ourselves. The key to an honest and accurate self-evaluation is knowing the basis of our self-worth – our identity in Christ. Apart from Him, we aren’t capable of very much by eternal standards; in Him, we are valuable and capable of worthy service. Evaluating ourselves by the worldly standards of success and achievement can cause us to think too much about our worth in the eyes of others and thus miss our true value in God’s eyes.
God gives us gifts so we can build up His church. To use them effectively, we must:
- Realize that all gifts and abilities come from God.
- Understand that not everyone has the same gifts.
- Know who we are and what we do best.
- Dedicate our gifts to God’s service and not to our personal success.
- Be willing to utilize our gifts wholeheartedly, not holding back anything from God’s service.
Hymn: A Charge to Keep I Have – MHB 578
1 A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
2 To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!
3 Arm me with jealous care
As in Thy sight to live,
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!
4 Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.
Charles Wesley (1707-1778)
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