We must desire God's ways and choose to follow them in order to be transformed into his image
Our life in God is a journey which requires action, intervention, attention, perseverance, accommodation, endurance, struggle, courage, sacrifice, and effort. We know by God's word and spirit we need endurance and perseverance in our love and faith toward God. Each day we are interacting spiritually either increasing toward God or away from him. There exists within us a tremendous amount of spiritual activity if only we would take time to listen, observe, and understand. This spiritual/mental/emotional activity communicates fear, anger, selfish pride, peace, love, joy, anxiety, worry, sadness etc. Our faith, belief, interpretation, and perception set us up for peace or struggle. God says to change, but faith in ourselves and our self-knowledge often takes us away from God's character. Having been hurt in our previous experience with love, gentleness, forgiveness, trust, and mercy coupled with society devaluing intimacy makes it difficult to engage in it. Yet we must not shrink from doing God's will, not because he says so, but because there is an amazing way of life behind it.
God desires for us to have intimacy: love, gentleness, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and sincerity. If we honestly and objectively review these qualities it ought to be apparent they no harm lies within them. Yet most of us will develop reasons that if we do participate in these qualities we will be hurt or suffer some great loss. The great loss that we will indeed suffer will be our selfish nature. Our selfish nature for most of us lives so deep within us it becomes our identity. Eliminating it would essentially be eliminating us. As uncomfortable as this may seem, it is exactly what the Bible is describing us to do. We are to die and live for Christ.
Practice makes permanent. What we practice over and over becomes hardwired into our brains and bodies. It is difficult to change. It is difficult because the body will unknowingly lean to continue in that direction. When we move differently the body will desire to move back into the habitual manner or hardwired understanding. In order to create the change we need to persist with perseverance, courage, and endurance into our new way of living as we are called to do.
2 Corinthians 10:15 Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand,
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Colossians 1:10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
Philippians 4:12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
1 Thessalonians 4:4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,
1 Timothy 5:4 But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.
2 Timothy 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,
Titus 3:14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives.
Matthew 5:19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 6:1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
Luke 6:47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.
Luke 6:49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Luke 8:21 He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Romans 12:13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
We are called to watch our thoughts and correct them instead of letting them control and influence us. God's beauty, love, grace, and peace will come only if we seek it out to be part of it and embrace it within our heart, mind, and soul. We choose what to believe. The cup is half empty and it is half full. We ought to be aware of both full and empty. Empty because of how far we can fall and full because of the amazing joy we can experience through God.
We are called to increase our faith and love.
Proverbs 20:11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.
Hosea 5:4 “They do not direct their deeds Toward turning to their God, For the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, And they do not know the Lord.
Luke 13:27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
Christians are called to increase: faith, love, righteousness, and the fruit of the spirit. We are to be transformed into God's image. We ought to always consider the bible over what other people demonstrate and teach. The Holy Spirit within us has been sent to guide us. The spirit ought to be our primary teacher. Too often other people get it wrong. We ought to follow God not other people.
Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 9:10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.
2 Peter 1:8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When reading God's word watch for action words that are instructive. The bible is full of them.
The Offer of Life or Death
11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
We die to self and live our lives for God. Progress not perfection. It's a journey not a destination.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
Romans 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Romans 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
We own our choices and the consequences.
Choosing not to decide is still choosing.
Job 32:8 But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.
God give us the choice to live in peace with him or not.