|by A. Gene Veal
Phil. 2:13 "... it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
Rom. 12:1-3 "... present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God ... do not be conformed to the world ... be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ...as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."
OUR BODIES, DESIGNED BY GOD
In Philippians 2:13, Paul tells us that God is working "IN" us, that is, in our bodies to will and to act. In Romans (the book of salvation), Paul says when he gets to chapter twelve, "therefore" or in light of everything I have told you, "present your bodies" to God. And after renewing your mind, you will be able to "prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Note that knowing the will of God for our life is linked specifically to our physical bodies. To know how Godís will perfectly fits you, he takes us right back to our physical bodies. Present these bodies to God.
The presentation of "ME" would be the presentation of that "inside" me ... the spiritual me ... but no, he says letís start with your body. We have already dealt with the "inside" you. By chapter 8 he had us walking in the Holy Spirit. He said we are now dealing with your bodies and that is directly linked to the will of God.
What connection does your physical body have with the will of God? In more than one place in the Bible we can find that our bodies, even before we were born, are linked to the will of God.
Jer. 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." Even when Jeremiah was an unformed child in the womb. God was marking him out for a certain path of life. You may say, "Well, that was Jeremiah." No, it was John Smith, Sam Jones, Mike Thomas, etc. It was not just this one occasion.
Gal. 1:15 - "When He who had set me apart even from my motherís womb..." So again he reiterates even what Jeremiah had said. That even in the womb the setting apart process began. That before he was born he was cut out for the particular ministry that he was now performing.
Ps. 139:13 - "For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst weave me in my motherís womb. I will give thanks to thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was not hidden from thee when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought." In Hebrew "skillfully wrought" means as if embroidered with various colors, colors of life. "Depths of the earth" means in darkness and mystery of my motherís womb you were embroidering the colors of my life. "Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance and in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not yet one of them."
Here is a child not yet fully formed in the womb and God is writing a book. This is the equivalent of todayís terminology of genes and DNA. God has written a certain program into the unformed child, the way his days will be, the bent of life, the kind of person, not the exact thing we would do but the kind of person, the personality - it is written there - carved out - set apart. Before you were born it was written out the way you would be, a thinking type or physically active, an introvert or an extrovert, artistic person, a leader or a follower, whatever type of person you turned out to be, it was determined before you were born.
You might say that God made the first person and man made all the rest. No. Not so. God made us all. Look what Job said:
Job 31:15 "He that made me in the womb." Job didnít even give credit to his mother and father and you can say the same thing.
Ps. 100:3 "It is He that has made us and not we ourselves." It is not that He made Adam and now others have made us by giving us birth. No. "He has made us".
WHY DID HE DO IT?
He did it in order that this body, with all its genes and chemistry, might be the perfect instrument for one ray of Godís glory to shine through. God is infinite, limitless, and not one of us can fully express and contain all the infinite glory of God, not one of us. Because I am finite, the finite cannot contain the infinite. God fashioned me. He said this little chemistry here and this little chemistry there and you will perfectly express this small facet of His glory. You are uniquely you for His purpose, to express a tiny part of His glory in a way that only you can. No one else is exactly like you and that is the reason.
BUT SOMETHING WENT WRONG
This body was born under the wrong control. We were born in sin (a fallen people) not "sins"... SIN. Behind sin there is the power of darkness, the power of Satan. When I came into the world with my body so uniquely fashioned to express God in His glory, instead I was a SELF WILLING SELF and was a person that said, "I will do what I will do." I come into the world distorted, wrong, controlled by the self-spirit.
Paul speaks in Romans 6 of sin as Master Sin or Lord Sin. He personifies sin. He speaks of the members of this body as the personal slaves of this Master Sin or Lord Sin. The members of this body go to do the will of their master. He speaks of sin as a King that reigns over the members of the body. He speaks of sin as using the body much as a conductor when he conducts an orchestra - so sin conducts the members of our body.
Behind all the darkness of sin is the SIN SPIRIT. See Eph. 2:1-3 "... the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience." The Amplified version says "demon-spirit". It is hard for some people to think that when they are living their life apart from God, "doing their own thing", it was actually Satan pulling the strings and they were doing Satanís bidding. Demon powers were working their lies in our lives, even if you were religious (especially if you were religious) because Satan is religious. He wants you to "be like God." He is upset about alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, etc. Jesus said they would go into the kingdom of heaven before the lost religious would.
TWO SPIRITS - 1John 4:4 "Greater is He that is in you (the church) than he that is in the world." The devil is playing this world like a chess board. John 8:44 " ... you are of your father the devil." Jesus told them, "and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies."
All this to say that that unique "me" that God made - that wonderful person that shall express one facet of His wonderful person has gotten under the control of the wrong person because of Adamís sin.
My uniqueness, my bent, my talents, my ambition all that God worked in me is controlled by SELF LOVING SELF or SELF WILLING SELF, but behind the scenes I'm being manipulated by Satan himself. This wretched person is called THE OLD MAN. The Greek form of that word means decrepit, senile, wretched, like an old, rag clothed bum, the image of one who is falling apart, ancient.
God moves into that situation. He puts the OLD MAN IN CHRIST. He does not try to save the old man. He is unsavable. He can not be changed or redeemed. HE MUST BE PUT TO DEATH AND GOD DID THAT BY PUTTING HIM IN CHRIST AND WHEN CHRIST WAS PUT TO DEATH, THE OLD MAN DIED, TOO.
Did you ever try to crucify the old self. It didnít work, did it? It is not something to BE DONE, IT IS DONE - it was done in the DEATH OF CHRIST.
ILLUSTRATION: MY WATCH IN MY BIBLE --- When I open my Bible and put my watch in it, where my Bible is, there is my watch because it is in my Bible. God placed you in Christ - whatever happened to Christ happened to you. "While we were yet sinners Christ died for (in the stead of) us." WHEN CHRIST DIED - YOU DIED. WHEN CHRIST WAS BURIED, THAT OLD YOU WAS BURIED FOREVER AND WHEN CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD YOU ROSE - ONLY NOW YOU ARE JOINED TO A NEW PERSON - JOINED TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
Example: David, representing Israel, fought Goliath who was representing the Philistines. What happen to the representative happened to all of those IN THE REPRESENTATIVE. When David won, Israel won. When Goliath lost, the Philistines lost.
When Jesus put away the OLD MAN you were there in him - your sin was pardoned and you who were joined to the wrong person are NOW JOINED TO THE RIGHT PERSON - JESUS CHRIST. " I LIVE, YET NOT I, IT IS CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME." Gal. 2:20
1Cor. 6 - "DONíT YOU KNOW THAT YOUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."
THEN COMES THE WORLD
Suddenly I discover the world. I never knew it was there before because I was in it and of it. Now I suddenly discover it. Now that I am separated from it and no longer one with its darkness, I feel it SQUEEZING ME. Romans 12 (J.B. Phillips) "Donít let the world squeeze you into its mold." The world says, "Come on, everyone does it." You are aware now as you werenít before.
"Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed"
TRANSFORMED means METAMORPHOSIS. You canít be conformed to the world now ... there is more to you now than meets the eye. (Like a worm in a cocoon on its way to becoming a butterfly) Christ is in you - CHRIST IS IN YOU!!!! You are "PREDESTINED TO BE CONFORMED TO THE LIKENESS OF HIS SON." Romans 8:29
SAME YOU - ONLY DIFFERENT
Now Christ comes to live in me as Satan never did and never could. I am the same person but with a DIFFERENT MASTER. I'm the same unique me, you are the SAME UNIQUE YOU, BUT WE HAVE A NEW SPIRIT IN US, "THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS." Romans 8:2
God wrote this inside of me before I was born. Now I like me.
EXAMPLE: Compare Saul with Paul. He's the same man but with a different Master, Lord. Saul saw when Stephen preached what even Peter did not see at that time. Saul saw it and knew that if the Christians were not stopped it would be the end of Judaism. He was the type that would do everything he could to destroy THE WAY. When he was converted he was the same way from a different direction.
EXAMPLE: Look at hot water & a tea bag or water and poison. Water is neutral - water doesnít change -it is only the container, it holds the tea. The tea gives it flavor as Christ gives flavor to the expression of you. So the person is the same person ... you are still you in you basic personhood. You either choose to live Christís life in you so that you now express His life in your uniqueness OR you choose to be a SELF-WILLING SELF and your life becomes a deadly poison - death to the world. "SOW TO THE FLESH AND REAP CORRUPTION- SOW TO THE SPIRIT AND REAP LIFE AND PEACE" Galatians 6:7-8
So Christ comes to live in me with a facet of His glory that uniquely fits my personality, my natural bent in life so that a facet of His uniqueness is expressed through my uniqueness. What He is being inside of me determines what I am going to do in life.
So we get back to "BEING LEADS TO DOING." First letís understand: Christ Jesus is living inside of the you that was fashioned by God before you were even born. He lives inside your likes and dislikes, your funny little quirks - that which makes you YOU. JESUS LIVES IN THAT. You can say, "I LIKE ME." Yes, and Jesus likes you, too. And through that YOU that there is no one else like, He is going to live in a way that is not quite like anyone else. He is going to be Himself IN YOU.
Now He begins to look through your eyes. He who is in your desire begins to desire his desires, and they are desires that fit you perfectly. They are just the desires I would expect to come from you. He desires through your desires. He thinks through your mind. He sees through your eyes and you begin to see in terms of need, opportunity, and desire.
EXAMPLE: Horses with blinders on can only see straight ahead. So it is with you and you begin to see that one thing that in life that you are supposed to be doing. Some call it a "burden" and some call it a "vision" but what ever you call it, it is Christ looking through your eyes.
EXAMPLE: Training seeing-eye dogs - they are trained to go straight on regardless of any commotion going on. Even when they are puppies in their cages, all the sides and back are closed to sight so they can only see out the front, thus, it trains them to look straight ahead.
God has uniquely designed you to be the particular person you are with the desires and goals that attract you. It becomes a "toothache" of the heart ... it nags at you, it bugs you, it wonít go away except for a while and then it is back again. There is a "must" about it ... Oh, it is a happy must. You like it, and although you may be a bit scared, there is that drive inside of you. You must pursue that. You must follow that. He is looking at life through you. He doesnít see the same thing through everyone. (Like missionaries who see only their field, or some Christians who see teaching while others see giving, and still others see evangelism.)
Romans 12:4 tells us that He gives you a "measure of faith" for what He is seeing with your eyes. Trying to be a person other than who you are is always a STRESSFUL burden.
Trying to "see" what others see is not always His design for you. Some are "cut-out" for one thing and some for another. Put me in a mission in Mexico and I am miserable. Put me in front of a class and I can remain longer than the students can endure. Give me an assignment of preparing a message of evangelism and I am struggling but give me an assignment to teach the body of Christ and I am in heaven. WHEN IT IS YOU .... IT IS EASY ... WHEN IT IS NOT ... IT IS CHAFING. WHAT A REST THIS IS. WHAT FREEDOM. WHAT FULFILLMENT.
WHAT WILL HE SEE THROUGH YOUR EYES
Romans 12 gives a partial list. Look at it and maybe you will find yourself. Very few in this list are "FULL TIME" ministries. For the most part, they are "add-on" works to a natural employment in life.
Legalism always presents God as a cruel God who will always call you to where you donít want to go and to do what you donít want to do. This is an ogre god, not the God of grace.
"HE WORKS IN US TO WILL AND TO DO ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PLEASURE." Philippians 2:12-13
He desires His desires in my desires so that it is my desire. He smiles and says, "that is My desire." Thus He can give me the DESIRES OF MY HEART if I am living from the Christ Who is in me, because my desires are Him desiring in me and yet it is me ... it is like the tea in the water ... they are inseparable, one and the same.
THE WILL OF GOD
The will of God is Christ in you "being." That result is Christ in you seeing and doing. So celebrate yourself in Jesus Christ. You are a marvelous person. There is no one else like you. He made you unique. That's where we get the SELF-ESTEEM everyone keeps talking about. It is my NEW SELF IN CHRIST. My Christ-self is where I get my self-esteem. "Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory."
Now, go celebrate that fact that the glorious Jesus Christ the Lord lives by His Spirit in you and He is the Plan of God for your life. The will of God lives in you.
So lay down in bed tonight and know you are falling asleep in the will of God. You sleep in the will of God and you rise in the will of God for CHRIST IS YOUR LIFE ... AND CHRIST IN YOU IS THE WILL OF GOD IN YOU.
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