God’s Heart for Us
First of all, my heart is overflowing with all that I hear in God’s heart for us!! He wants so much for us to know Him. Those two words are His deepest desire for us, His creation. We often jump to obedience as the most important thing, but truly knowing Him is at the heart of everything we do and believe.
I want to start with Romans 12:1&2. We need to spend a couple minutes talking about verse 1 first.
NKJ “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
NLT “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 that he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.”
I truly believe that so much starts right here, presenting our bodies to be a living and holy sacrifice. The best way I know to describe it is to share how God taught me, just be a willing vessel. He has told me time and time again, All I need is for you to be a willing vessel. I will do the rest. When it comes down to it, being a willing vessel means letting go of self and putting my trust in God.
One of my favorite things about our Father is He asks us to step out exactly where we are. When we walk out our faith, we walk it out from where we are. He doesn’t expect us to be experts in letting go of self, nor does He expect us to completely trust Him at first either. We learn and grow with each step we take. As we come to Him, just as we are, and say, “I give up, take all of me and do what you will.” He will do exactly what He knows we need at that time to strengthen our faith. He is the one who teaches us to be still and to know that He is God. Our part is to come to Him willingly, open the door, and give Him permission to do His will. God is amazingly gentle and kind. He knows we are simple human beings. All through the Bible, He speaks of His children as sheep. Sheep are very simple creatures in desperate need of being led.
Onto Verse 2 – Rom 12:2
NKJ “And do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove
what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
NLT “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the 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.”
When God first started speaking to me through these two verses, He immediately challenged much of what I had been taught. As Christians, we often define the world as unbelievers. We can have a very strong defining line between those who call themselves believers and those who aren’t. When God showed me His heart for us behind Romans 12 verse 2, His dividing line was very different. He pointed out that my “world” was both believer and non-believer.
“Be ye not conformed to this world.”
I had to understand that I was conforming to man’s ideas, beliefs of who God is and what His Word was saying. We need Pastors and teachers to guide, strengthen, encourage, and remind us of God’s truth in our lives, but no one is to ever take the place of the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide. He is the only One that can interpret Scripture directly into our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The truth is that God is a very personal, all-up-in-our-business kind of God. His desire is for us to draw closer and closer to Him so that we can hear and know His very heart for us. If we decide for ourselves, or let others decide for us, exactly what God is, or isn’t like, we are allowing ourselves to be conformed to some aspect of the world. Whether we realize it or not, we are often building boxes for our God to live in that makes Him into something our finite minds can make sense out of.
When we come to Him as willing vessels, trusting Him, He will renew our minds. This isn’t a quick overnight process. This is a relationship that grows as we come to Him and see all He is with each small step of faith that we take, “be ye not conformed to this world.”
Question your faith, always. Take everything to God and let Him be your filter of what is true. Here’s what happens when we stop conforming to outside influences and let God renew our minds and transform us:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22 & 23
This is not a list of things for us to strive toward, this is what happens through us as we “sacrifice our bodies as a living sacrifice” and become a willing vessel. As we do this we start to walk in the Spirit. He truly becomes what people see when they look at us. We are still us with our weaknesses and needs, but He is the one we fall back on and know will always be our strength.