The night Jesus was crucified, He stood alone. He struggled alone in Gethsemane, though His disciples slept around him. He alone wept drops of blood in agony, as He faced the cross He must bear. He, alone, stood trial before the Jews and Pilot. He, alone, hung on the cross, suffered the separation, and wrath of His Father, and died.
When we follow Christ, we will have many times when we must stand alone. There will be times when even those closest to us won't understand the will of God in our lives and how He is leading us. There are times we must stand on truth God shows us when others don't see it. There are times when even your brothers and sisters in Christ will condemn you, when you know before God you are staying true to what He has done in you and taught you, but they won't understand.
There are times when nobody can give you the counsel or the answer you so desperately need. You long for someone with wisdom to explain to you God's way, but you must, alone, get on your knees and seek Him until you find Him for yourself.
There will be times you will fall, and others will abandon you, and you must, alone, seek God's face again, to lift you up. You alone can make the surrender of your heart that must be made. Though others pray for you, you alone must stand before God, baring your soul and surrender to Him. You, alone, must reach out in faith and receive forgiveness, and restoration.
"The heart knows it's own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy." Prov. 14:10 NKJV
There will be times when God teaches you something so wonderful and touches your heart so intimately and you will long to share it, but nobody will understand. You, alone, will know that joy between you and God.
There will be times you will go through the fire. Though you may have the prayers and sympathy of others around you, you must, alone, draw from God, the grace you need, the inner strength of His Spirit, and find His understanding and faith through it all, trusting Him to lift you up in due time, as He accomplishes His purpose in you. You may have many Job's comforters during that time. People who truely want to help, but don't know God's working in you. Only God knows His purposes in your sufferings. You alone, must wait on Him until He reveals Himself to you.
There will be times when you must bear the shame of being misunderstood, when others speak evil of you, when in your heart you knew you did what was right before God. You must share in the sufferings of Jesus Himself in His shame as He stood condemned by the world as an innocent man, and bore the shame of the cross.
Though we stand alone, we are never alone in this Christian walk. We have continual communion with our Savior who is always living in us.
"Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus." Rom. 6:11 amplified
We have His Spirit always in us helping us.......
"For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!" Rom. 8:15 amplified
Though in this world, the Christian life can be a lonely walk, it is a walk filled with the presence of God. Though we have the fellowship at times of other believers, nothing can take the place of the intimacy we have when we stand alone with God.
Phi 1:8 For God is my witness how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. Phi 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in full knowledge and in all perception; Phi 1:10 that you may distinguish between things that differ, that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Jesus Christ,
The greatest command that God has given us is….Mat 22:37 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
There are many misunderstandings about love in Christian churches. We don’t think of love as knowledge, or perception. We don’t think of love as discernment. In fact in many churches these things are thrown out the door in place of a so-called love. But, if they are throwing knowledge, perception, and discernment out the door, they are in fact, throwing God’s love out the door. They are replacing it with a cheap love that is a counterfeit for true godly love, that is a “make everybody feel good” kind of “love”, which is not directed towards God but towards self.
God’s Word says that a true love for Him will grow and abound. In Robertson’s Word pictures, the word abound is described - perisseuw, may keep on overflowing, a perpetual flood of love, "yet more and more".
The kind of love God wants us to grow in is so much more than just an affection for God or for one another but must increase in full knowledge of God, spiritual understanding and perception. These should be overflowing, and increasing in us more and more. These things can not be shunned or put aside as in our modern day version of "Christian love" in the so-called unity movement. A love for God will not accept error. A love for God will cringe and grieve when God's truth is distorted, and exchanged for a lie. A love for God's Word of truth, which is His heart revealed to us, will grow and abound.
We must understand how God's love is to act towards Him, and one another, by deeper and increasing knowledge of Him. We must understand and abound in the things that please God and know what He disapproves of. We must seek Him and find His very heart in all matters, so as to grow away from love of self, and instead be filled with a desire to do all that pleases Him. If our knowledge of Him is small, then so will our love of Him be.
As we grow in our knowledge of Him, our spiritual perception and discernment will be developed and the things He is grieved by will grieve us. Our oneness with Him in His will and purpose will also increase.
(Wesley)…”That ye may be inwardly sincere - Having a single eye to the very best things, and a pure heart. And outwardly without offence - Holy, unblamable in all things.”
A true godly love in our hearts will drive us to the cross, where self-pleasure is no longer important, but God’s pleasure is. It will say, "Not my will but Thine be done."
If we are to obey the great commandment to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul, then God must fill our heart, mind, and soul. As we sit at His feet and learn from Him, as we eat of His Word, and let it be life in us, as we drink from His Spirit, and let Him rule us, the love that increases in knowledge of His will, and of His very heart, perception of His Spirit, and discernment of what is evil and what is good will continue to abound in and through us in increasing measure. We can't get that by feeding our mind, heart, and soul on the thoughts and philosophies of our the world.
Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation, in horror fleeing from evil, cleaving to the good, Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
Approved..."tested," "tried." The word will, in almost every ease, imply that the proof is victoriously demonstrated, (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
As this kind of love abounds in us, we will no longer be self centered, but God centered. It is the kind of love that produces true fruit that will last.
Psa 92:12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Joh 15:8 In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you shall be My disciples.
Col 1:10 that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God,
Dear Abba, I ask today that you would fill us with the love that abounds in Your knowledge, perception, and discernment. Help us to prove and test all things, that we may find what pleases You, and truly love you with our minds, hearts, and souls.
2Co 4:4 ...in whom the god of this world has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, so that the radiancy of the glad tidings of the glory of the Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine forth for them .
Amazing how things can renew our mind without us being aware of it. Hitler said if you tell a lie often enough people will believe it. We listen to cliches, thoughts, philosophies, and lies everyday through our media, and before we know it, we've accepted what we hear, just by hearing it so often. It's then repeated and accepted in those around us, and soon becomes the "norm" of our age. We are taught to be politically correct. These thoughts are simply conveyed over and over through TV sitcom's, news media, music, and repeated by our teachers in the schools, and we have come to accept them as the "norm". In this way God's way is put aside for man's. The world is being renewed in their minds into a certain thought that is viewed as the correct thought of our day.
But God says, Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace
Rom 8:7 because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can it be.
1Co 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool so that he may be wise.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, "He takes the wise in their own craftiness." (MKJV)
(1Co 7:31) and they that use the world, as not disposing of it as their own; for the fashion of this world passes. (Darby)
Jam 4:3 Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask evilly, that ye may consume it in your pleasures.
Jam 4:4 Adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore is minded to be the friend of the world is constituted enemy of God. (Darby)
(Literal translation)...Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God.
Strongs..from 4862 and a derivative of 4976; to fashion alike, i.e. conform to the same pattern (figuratively):--conform to, fashion self according to.
transformed..from 3326 and 3445; to transform (literally or figuratively, "metamorphose"):--change, transfigure, transform.
Renewing...342 anakainosis an-ak-ah'-ee-no-sis from 341; renovation:--renewing.
Our minds need a total renovation from this world! That's how different God's ways are from the world's.
Robertson's Word Pictures...According to this world ... Do not take this age as your fashion plate.
Wesley...Rom 12:2 - And be not conformed - Neither in judgment, spirit, nor behaviour. To this world - Which, neglecting the will of God, entirely follows its own. That ye may prove - Know by sure trial; which is easily done by him who has thus presented himself to God. What is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God - The will of God is here to be understood of all the preceptive part of Christianity, which is in itself so excellently good, so acceptable to God, and so perfective of our natures.
J, F, & B...by the renewing of your mind--not by a mere outward disconformity to the ungodly world, many of whose actions in themselves may be virtuous and praiseworthy; but by such an inward spiritual transformation as makes the whole life new--new in its motives and ends, even where the actions differ in nothing from those of the world--new, considered as a whole, and in such a sense as to be wholly unattainable save through the constraining power of the love of Christ.
Matthew Henry... Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory. The great enemy to this renewal is, conformity to this world. Take heed of forming plans for happiness, as though it lay in the things of this world, which soon pass away. Do not fall in with the customs of those who walk in the lusts of the flesh, and mind earthly things. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Thus, to be godly, is to give up ourselves to God.
May prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God...
1381 - Greek (Strongs) 1381 dokimazo dok-im-ad'-zo from 1384; to test (literally or figuratively); by implication, to approve:--allow, discern, examine, X like, (ap-)prove, try.
We are not to be unconcerned or lazy about what we allow to renew or transform our mind, and what we allow ourlselves to be conformed or changed to. Everything we take in and yield to needs to be examined, proved, tested, and found to be acceptable to God, whether in the world or the church. If not of God, then why would we want that to renew our mind? What are we haphazardly, and indiscriminately giving our minds and spirits and souls over to to influence us, and transform our thinking? Do we think we can entertain ourselves with what God does not approve, or continually listen to thoughts repeated to us that our minds won't be influenced and renewed by? The renewing of a Christian's mind is to be by the Holy Spirit, by the Word of God, by practicing godliness, not by this world. How many times a day do we expose ourselves to the World's ways and thoughts and teachings, in comparison to exposure to God's Word, meditation and fellowship in His Spirit, and things that draw us closer to Him?
Did Paul think it important? He told us to present, or yield ourselves to those things, purposely, that would be for the renewing of our mind....by putting on Christ. It is a deliberate act. We cannot expect it to just happen to us, as we go about our day living in the world and being surrounded by its influences.
Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Be mindful of things above, not on things on the earth.
Col 3:3 For you died, and your life has been hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ our Life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
Col 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness (which is idolatry),
Col 3:6 on account of which things' sake the wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience,
Col 3:7 among whom you also once walked, when you lived in these.(past tense).
Col 3:8 But now also put off all these things: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, shameful speech out of your mouth.
Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, having put off the old man with his deeds
Col 3:10 and having put on the new, having been renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
He has already given us a new nature. Our outward man must be, now conformed to that inner man that Christ has given, no longer to the world. It is a continuous process to learn to yield to the Spirit and no more to the flesh. The flesh must be brought to the cross. The trouble with many Christians is that they have not decided to embrace the cross, and have not decided wholeheartedly to be dead to this world. Therefore they are still letting the world control their thoughts and actions. We must make a decision and no longer be double minded and tossed to and fro. Who will you let renew your mind?
Heb 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons, "My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him;
Heb 12:6 for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives."
Heb 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons, for what son is he whom the father does not chasten?
Heb 12:8 But if you are without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then you are bastards and not sons.
Heb 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
Heb 12:10 For truly they chastened us for a few days according to their own pleasure, but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
Heb 12:11 Now chastening for the present does not seem to be joyous, but grievous. Nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who are exercised by it.
In the New Testament the Greek paideia is used with a variety similar to its corresponding Hebrew in the Old Testament. Examples of the fundamental idea, namely, that of "training," are found in such passages as Acts 7:22; 22:3, where Moses and Paul are said to have been "instructed," and 2 Tim 3:16, where Scripture is said to be "profitable .... for instruction" (compare 1 Tim 1:20; 2 Tim 2:25; Tit 2:12; Rom 2:20). A similar, but not identical, thought, is found in Eph 6:4: "Nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord." But when paideia is described as bringing pain, the mystery of suffering, which in the Old Testament is most fully treated in the Book of Job, at last finds its explanation. The child of God realizes that he cannot be beneath God's wrath, and hence, that the chastening which he endures is not destructive, but corrective (1 Cor 10:13; 11:32; 2 Cor 6:9; Rev 3:19). In Heb 12:5-11, such consolation is afforded, not, as in the above passages, by incidental allusions, but by a full argument upon the basis of Prov 3:11 f, an Old Testament text that has depth and richness that can be understood and appropriated only by those who through Christ have learned to recognize the Omnipotent Ruler of heaven and earth, as their loving and considerate Father. On the basis of this passage, a distinction is often drawn between punishment and chastisement; the former, as an act of justice, revealing wrath, and the latter, as an act of mercy, love. Since to them that are in Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation (Rom 8:1) they can suffer no punishment, but only chastisement. Where there is guilt, there is punishment; but where guilt has been removed, there can be no punishment. There being no degrees of justification, no one can be forgiven in part, with a partial guilt still set to his account for which he must yet give a reckoning, either here or hereafter. If, then, all the righteousness of Christ belongs to him, and no sin whatever remains to be forgiven, either in whole or in part, all life's sorrows are remedial agencies against danger and to train for the kingdom of heaven.
H. E. Jacobs
We endure many hard things in our Christian walk. How are we to look at it? Is it all God's chastisement? Is He punishing us for our sin? Did we displease Him some way and though we can't figure out what it is, He's somehow mad at us? All these questions tend to flood our mind when we're in the midst of a trial, or when sickness comes and there seems to be silence from heaven. When we have prayed and prayed for God's leading yet, our family, our finances, and our health seem to be falling apart. Why? Doesn't God love us? Does it seem almost as though you have been cursed by Him at times?
Job lost all He had. He didn't know why. He had believed in God and served Him. He was a righteous man. Job's friends condemned him, and just knew that he must have unconfessed, hidden sin in his life. Others will look at you that way also, even though daily you pour your heart out to God crying out to Him in your trial and suffering. You've searched your heart, you know no sin there, your heart is yielded to His will. Why then?
Chastisement, discipline, is not punishment from God's anger, for justice towards our wrongdoing....but a correction and training that is taking place in us, that our flesh may be brought to the cross and crucified, and His righteousness remain. It is for our sanctification. Our faith is being purified, like gold refined in a furnace. It is not for our punishment, but for our life. This flesh must die. It must be put to the cross and crucified. There is no good thing in it! We can never do that ourselves, but He does this in us through those hardships we endure in life. But chastisement only has a benefit in us as we yield to Him. If we fight against it, we refuse the cross and it's power in our lives. We instead are choosing to cling to our flesh, or "hold on to our lives." Or what we think is our life.
Luk 9:24 For whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever will lose his life for My sake, he shall save it.
The cross is powerful to put to death our flesh. The pain is felt and not escaped. But it is not the end. There is a resurrection, and its power is greater! He won't leave you in the grave. He won't leave you on the cross! As you yield yourself to the work of the cross, do so in faith of the resurrection, for the joy set before you, as Jesus did, not thinking of the pain of the cross.
Heb 12:2 looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.
There is a joy set before you child of God. Always and forever there is a joy unspeakable and full of glory. The glory of His presence...the glory of His knowledge...the glory of His love. They await you. The power of His life in you and flowing through you without the restraint of your own flesh and self-will. How awesome! Can we aim for any higher goal?