Posts Tagged ‘Romans 12:2’

The will of God: The road less traveled by

October 16, 2017

Romans 12--2 last part

Instead of commenting on the Verse of the Day as we usually do, today we will select the Quote of the Day as a starting point for our blog post on October 16, 2017:

“To know the road ahead ask those coming back.”

Chinese Proverb

The statement brings to mind “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, one of the most popular poems taught in American schools in the Twentieth Century. First published more than a century ago in 1916, the poem, particularly the last lines, is still often recited today. I recall having to memorize the entire poem in my junior year of high school in the late 1950s, and I still know it by heart today. Most providentially, the same poem found its way into a composition and literature class I taught as a college professor twenty years later. Here is the classic poem:

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

 

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Even more remarkably, 10 years later I recognized a similar inclination to write poetry that has been described as “didactic,” in light of my desire to teach, particularly to incorporate concepts and principles from the Scriptures into my poems. In graduate school while working on my doctorate in English, I took a seminar which deepened my appreciation for the great American poet, having been first “Frost-bitten” back in the day in the middle of the Twentieth Century.

Reflecting on the Quote of the Day also brings to mind the closing lines from the celebrated poem by Frost, the inspiration, in part, for this piece:

The Will of God: the Road Less Traveled by

 

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.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

 

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

Robert Frost

 

I begin again this year of my jubilee.

Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny

That the will of God is the road less travelled by:

To choose to serve, even though having been set free.

The straight and narrow way I once again select.

I press on, still striving toward the highest good.

In this place we renew our covenant of blood,

Reassured that “As for God His way is perfect.”

I see clearly with new eyes where our paths have led.

In the midst of turbulent times I remain still,

Proving that good and acceptable and perfect will.

I look back, waiting in the now, then look ahead.

Each day God offers another chance to commence:

The choice to do God’s will makes all the difference.

Although one can certainly learn from someone who has traveled the road that one may be taking, each individual must choose the road to take, and I concur with Frost that “the road less traveled by” makes all the difference, particularly in thinking of “the will of God” as that road.

Amy Grant closes today’s entry with her rendering of the hymn “Sweet Will of God.”

Renewing the mind: the key

October 14, 2017

Romans 12-2

Today marks the first day of the return of our blog. Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe is now open again along with our new website: lonnelledwardjohnson.com. From Romans 12:2 in the King James Version comes the Verse of the Day for October 14, 2017 with a reference to “renewing the mind.”

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Here is how the Amplified Bible puts it:

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

For most of the years of my adult life as a believer, I recognized the importance of the opening verses of Romans 12 and committed this passage to memory. In my understanding of these verses, I thought of “the renewed mind” as something that believers had to obtain or lay hold of. Later, I read the passage more closely and recognized that the reference emphasizes “the renewing of the mind,” an active, ongoing process.

This section of scripture is associated with the familiar process of metamorphosis that butterflies and other organisms undergo. Christians are instructed not to be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. The New Testament phrase is translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are also “changed” into the same image by means of this ongoing process.

Butterflies as they undergo metamorphosis are transformed from egg to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly (adult). Christian believers also continually undergo a similar spiritual transformation as they mature in Christ. The essence of this amazing process is expressed in this poem:

Renewing the Mind 

Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old   

(unregenerate) self with its evil practices,

 And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self],     

which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into   

 [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after            

the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.

Colossians 3:9-10 [Amplified Bible]

 

Now we know the key to power is renewing the mind,

As we seek to release this life-force within you and me,

For we long to walk in power and not be left behind,

As we strive to know deeper levels of intimacy.

With laser precision we now target our old nature

And put to death and mortify our members once for all.

We respond in obedience in answer to God’s call;

Not conformed, we transform ourselves, to become new, mature.

In the presence of God, the Almighty who inhabits

The praises of His people, where we yearn to abide,

To put off the old man, vile, corrupt, wrapped in sinful pride;

We put on the new man, as one changes garments, habits.

Above all we put on compassionate love from the start

And abide in our hiding place, filled with a grateful heart.

 

 

Receive one another

September 22, 2017

Romans 15--7

The Verse of the Day for September 22, 207 is found in Romans 15:7 (NKJV):

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.

In the preceding verses, we find a discussion of how believers should related to one another in Romans 15:2 (NKJV):

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way:

Let each one of us make it a practice to please (make happy) his neighbor for his good and for his true welfare, to edify him [to strengthen him and build him up spiritually].

A previous blog entry discussed seven principles that can be universally applied to “launch, challenge, and grow relationships.”  These seven principles were expressed as verbs which connote action when specifically applied in terms of what should be done to “one another.”  Here is a poetic summary of those principles taught by Apostle Carolyn Warren:

We must learn to value and steward relationships,

As we ever strive to launch, grow and to maintain them.

As we love, honor, forgive and encourage each other,

We must admonish, serve, and make peace with one another.

In order to apply these seven principles, believers must apply the overarching principle expressed in Romans 15:7 and that is to “receive one another.” The New Living Translation puts it this way:

So accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified.

The J.B. Phillips Translation offers this rendering:

So open your hearts to one another as Christ has opened his heart to you, and God will be glorified.

Romans 12:10 (AMP) further encourages believers with these words:

Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor;

The King James Version says this:

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;

We might joking say that believers are encouraged to take a trip to “Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love,” since this is the term translated “brotherly affection.” The ESV goes on to say “Outdo one another in showing honor.”

The Verse of the Day and other related scriptures also incorporates two principles of Christian living expressed as verbs applied in terms of how we should behave toward “one another.” In this case, love one another and honor one another, as these previously posted comments exhort us:

Love one another:

To decide, demonstrate, freely give and practice love:

The first thread whereby we must launch all relationships

And follow Christ’s command that we love one another.

Love is an essential element of life, and Jesus Christ is the model, the standard of love who offered this reminder:

John 13:34-35:

 I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

35 By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

 

Honor one another:

To place value on, respect and hold in high esteem:

Giving preference, we take the lead–we are intentional;

With genuine affection we honor one another.

Another vital component necessary for building and maintaining fruitful relationships is honor.  To honor means to place value on, respect, to place esteem upon, to esteem. The word also means “to prefer—to go before, to lead, to be intentional.” Clearly, this is the essence of the latter part of Romans 12:10.

Apostle John Tetsola comments, “Honor produces an exchange, in that when we give honor, we receive honor in return.” He elaborated upon this principle by stating that associated with honor is the “process of welcoming the person you honor in your heart, whereby you celebrate their anointing and receive the individual with gladness.” He calls this the “process of acceptance” which we apply when we honor one another.

Spoken word poet, Amena Brown reads selections from Romans 12, from The Voice, a new Bible translation, from which the Verse of the Day was taken.

We conclude with the musical group Acapella offering this vocal reminder of actions that we can take, as we love one another and honor one another, and “Be Devoted”:

Lose your mind: renew your mind

April 28, 2017

Philippians 2--5

The Verse of the Day for April 28, 2017 comes from Philippians 2:5-8 in the familiar King James Version:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The opening phrase of the passage offers this exhortation to believers in the Amplified Bible:

Philippians 2:5 (AMP)

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

The expression brings to mind similar words of encouragement “to put on the Lord Jesus Christ” and “to be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Believers must learn to put off their former way of thinking and put on or develop new thinking habits or patterns based on the Word of God.

I recall an experience when I first began studying and applying the Scriptures in my life in a serious and consistent manner. I was in the Army, and one of my buddies noticed how intently I studied the Bible, as I shared my enthusiasm for what I was learning. One day he pulled me to the side and said in a serious manner, “Johnson, if you keep studying that Bible so much, you’re going to lose your mind.” Immediately I was offended and remarked, “I studied harder and for a longer period of time when I was in college, and I didn’t lose my mind. Why do you think it’s going to happen to me now?” I dismissed his remarks and kept on pursuing spiritual principles, applying them to my daily life. After a short period of time, however, his words came true. I did start to lose my mind, but I also recognized that I had replaced my old mindset with a new way of thinking, as I put on the mind of Christ.

This ongoing, lifelong spiritual process is called “renewing the mind.” Christians are instructed not to be conformed to the thinking patterns of the world but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2).

This section of scripture is associated with the familiar process of metamorphosis. Translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, the phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are also “changed” into the same image by means of this ongoing process.

Butterflies as they undergo metamorphosis are transformed from egg to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly (adult). Christian believers also continually undergo a similar spiritual transformation as they mature in Christ. The essence of this amazing process is expressed this way:

We put off the old, put on the new, and leave the past behind.

As we follow Christ, we are renewed in the spirit of our mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. We are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. We personally apply these principles of renewing our minds when we determine that we will change directions in our lives and start following this directive to

Put off, put on, put away

And do not be conformed to this,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable

 and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

 

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but learning to patiently wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with our mouths confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we are, to always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed being sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity,

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace:

Not to seeking revenge but forgiving each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

Jody McBryer concludes with a powerful rendering of “The Mind of Christ”:

 

 

 

Put away

July 15, 2016

James 1-21

From James 1:21 (AMP) comes the Verse of the Day for July 16, 2016, telling us what we should do:

So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls.

The English Standard Version renders the verse this way:

James 1:21 (ESV)

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

The Verse of Day is one of a number scriptures that encourage believers to “get rid” or “put away” or change certain behaviors that are unprofitable. Similar expressions are used throughout the Old Testament whereby God strongly admonishes the Children of Israel to put away evil or idolatrous practices, particularly when they leave Egypt and enter into the Promised Land. Later in the opening verses of the Book of Isaiah, the prophet offers this exhortation:

Isaiah 1:16 (NKJV)

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,

Job 11:13-15 speaks of the personal benefits that result from putting away evil:

13 “Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,
14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
15 then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
you will stand firm and without fear.

In the New Testament we see that putting off or putting away evil thoughts is part of the renewing of our minds, the ongoing process in every believer whereby the Word of God teaches us to

Put off the old. Put on the new and leave the past behind.

Follow Christ and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. In the same way that we change garments every day, we are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices.  Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of God, Colossians 3:8 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible tells us how to behave:

But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.

In Ephesians 4:22-25 (NKJV) we find a similar exhortation:

22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

Here is the same passage in the New Living Translation:

22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.

Likewise Ephesians 4:31 (AMP) reiterates the message:

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor [perpetual animosity, resentment, strife, fault-finding] and slander be put away from you, along with every kind of malice [all spitefulness, verbal abuse, malevolence].

The heart of the matter regarding renewing the mind involves action where each believer must “put off, put on, and put away,” while

Moving in the Opposite Spirit

Quit backbiting—God doesn’t want to hear it.

Don’t retaliate—move in the opposite spirit.

“Bump it up!”

 

And do not be conformed to this world,  

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,  

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable

and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

 

 

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but learning to patiently wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with our mouths confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we are, to always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed that is sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

As followers of Christ, each day we must heed this triple exhortation, recalling the lyrics to “May the Mind of Christ My Savior” by Jake Armerding.

 

 

 

Not conformed but transformed

October 14, 2015

Romans 12-2Taken from Romans 12:2 (NLT) the Verse of the Day for October 14, 2015 speaks of being transformed in a previous blog entry that is revised and re-posted below:

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.

The Amplified Bible renders the verse this way:

Romans 12:2:

And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Romans 12:2 brings to mind the process of metamorphosis that butterflies and other organisms undergo, reminding us of a similar spiritual process called “renewing the mind.” Christians are instructed not to be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:1). The New Testament phrase is translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are also “changed” into the same image:

And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Butterflies as they undergo metamorphosis are transformed from egg to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly (adult). Christian believers also continually undergo a similar spiritual transformation as they mature in Christ. The essence of this amazing process is expressed in this poem:

Death to the Caterpillar

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat

falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone;

but if it dies, it produces much grain.

John 12:24

 

What is death to the caterpillar we call a butterfly —

Anonymous

From the dark of earth new life stems from seeds once sown.

Despite the pain of loss and our questioning why,

From the source of life this eternal truth is shown:

“Death to the caterpillar we call a butterfly.”

Creation travails until the sons of God appear;

No longer conformed, we have at last been set free,

As every Kingdom mystery is now made clear,

Totally transformed into glorious liberty.

Triumphant in the race we desired to win:

From victory to victory and glory to glory,

We see that power to change comes from within,

As we write another chapter of our life’s story.

The final stage of glory unfolds this result:

Transformed from egg to larva to pupa to adult.

The following video offers a graphic visual illustration of this amazing process:

Here is a scripture memory song of Romans 12:2 offered in a style reminiscent of the Beatles:

The Verse of the Day we can apply every day, as we are being transformed while renewing our minds, proving what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Put off, put on, put away

September 13, 2015

1 Peter 3_8The Verse of the Day for September 13, 2015 is found in 1 Peter 3:8 (NKJV):

[ Called to Blessing ] Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;

The verse is rendered this way the Amplified Bible:

Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).

The Verse of the Day brings to mind a similar exhortation, poetically expressed this way:

We put off the old, put on the new, and leave the past behind.

We follow Christ and are renewed in the spirit of our mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. We are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of the Lord, Colossians 3:12 -14 in the Amplified Bible offer this reminder:

12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

We personally apply these principles of renewing our minds when we determine that we will change directions in our lives and start following this directive by

Moving in the Opposite Spirit

Quit backbiting—God doesn’t want to hear it.

Don’t retaliate—move in the opposite spirit.

 

And do not be conformed to this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable

and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but learning patiently to wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with our mouths confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we are, to always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed that is sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

As followers of Christ, each day we must “Put off! Put on! Put away!”

Jody McBryer concludes with a powerful rendering of “The Mind of Christ”:

Changing habits: put off the old; put on the new

July 15, 2015

James 1-21From James 1:21 (NLT) comes the Verse of the Day for July 15, 2015:

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

The English Standard Version renders the verse this way:E

James 1:21 (ESV)

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

In Ephesians 4:22-25 (NKJV) we find a similar exhortation:

22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

Here is the same passage in the New Living Translation:

22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. 25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.

These passages remind us to

Put off the old. Put on the new and leave the past behind.

Follow Christ and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. In the same way that we change garments every day, we are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of God, we are encouraged to be

Moving in the Opposite Spirit

Quit backbiting—God doesn’t want to hear it.  

Don’t retaliate—move in the opposite spirit.

Bump it up!”

 

And do not be conformed to this world,  

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,  

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable 

and perfect will of God.     

Romans 12:2

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but patiently learning to  wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with my mouth confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we should do: always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed that is sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

Changing our thinking habits is similar to changing our clothes which are sometimes spoken of as “habits” in a most literal sense. Colossians 3:12-15 remind believers of this reality:

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

The process of changing our garments is described in a captivating way, as Patty Loveless sings of “Two Coats.”

Speaking the truth in love

April 30, 2015

Ephesians_4-15The Verse of the Day for April 30, 2015 is found in Ephesians 4:15 (KJV):

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Throughout the New Testament believers are exhorted not only to speak the truth in love but to walk in love, to demonstrate or manifest love, to put on love. Love is to be the guiding principle in all that we say or do.

A previous blog entry encouraged us to follow the Scriptures, whereby we “put off, put on, and put away.” Here is an excerpt from that post:

Colossians 3:12-14 in the Amplified Bible speaks of how believers should behave:

12 Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].

13 Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

14 And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].

Poetically speaking, we are directed to

Put off the old. Put on the new and leave the past behind.

Follow Christ and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.

As believers, we are encouraged to change of our minds and develop new thinking patterns. We are to put off the old man and to put on the new man, as we put away lying or any other ungodly practices. Instead of continuing in the direction that habitually takes us away from presence of God, we are encouraged to be

Moving in the Opposite Spirit

Quit backbiting—God doesn’t want to hear it.

Don’t retaliate—move in the opposite spirit.

“Bump it up!”

 

And do not be conformed to this world,

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

that you may prove what is that good and acceptable

and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2

Moving in the opposite spirit, not in hate

But walking in love, being kind, tenderhearted;

Not being anxious but learning to patiently wait;

To quench the fiery tongue before it gets started;

Never spewing venom but with our mouth confess

The truth of the Word of God that we might make known

What God declares we are, to always seek to bless

And reap a great harvest from good seed that is sown;

To reverse the curse and counter iniquity.

God orders our steps, and we choose the path of peace,

Not to seek revenge but pray for each enemy,

For all giving assures that favor will increase;

Renewed in the spirit of our mind night and day,

Being transformed “to put off, put on, put away.”

In Ephesians 4:22-25 we find a similar exhortation:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another

As followers of Christ, each day we must “Put off! Put on! Put away!”

The contemporary Christian vocal group “A cappella” asks, “Are we teaching the truth in love?”

Casting Crowns offer a related song: “Love you with the truth.”

The way of truth: The road less travelled by

July 21, 2014

Psalms-119-Verse-30

In Psalm 119:30 we find the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2014:

I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.

The expression “the way of truth” is translated from the Hebrew word derek, meaning “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.

The reference to “the way of truth” brings to mind an earlier blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God,” using the analogy of the will of God being a road, a path or a way, looking at the Hebrew word derek which is translated “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, a lifestyle.

In the New Testament, the Greek word hodos is translated “a way, a traveled way, road, and when used as a metaphor it means “a course of conduct” “a way (i.e., manner of thinking, feeling, deciding. It is used 100 times with 54 of those times the word is translated “way.”

In “Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?” a poetic expression of my personal testimony, I refer to “the path of truth”:

Stumblin down the road of life,

I was wastin all my youth,

Then took a right turn to Jesus Christ;

Now I’m walkin the path of truth.

 

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

In a previous post on the Will of God, I spoke of the will of God as the road less travelled, referring to the often quoted poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.” Most remarkably I first committed that poem to memory as a junior in high school, back in the middle of the Twentieth Century. I still know the poem by heart and recognize now more clearly than ever its application to my life at this time:

The Will of God: the Road Less Travelled by

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

The Road Not Taken

—Robert Frost

 

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.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

I begin again this year of my jubilee.

Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny

That the will of God is the road less travelled by:

To choose to serve, even though having been set free.

The straight and narrow way I once again select.

I press on, still striving toward the highest good.

In this place we renew our covenant of blood,

Reassured that “As for God His way is perfect.”

I see clearly with new eyes where our paths have led.

In the midst of turbulent times I remain still,

Proving that good and acceptable and perfect will.

I look back, waiting in the now, then look ahead.

Each day God offers another chance to commence:

The choice to do God’s will makes all the difference.

To follow the Will of God is to decide which path we are going to take. Many times it is easier to follow our own path and seek our own way rather than God’s way or God’s will. Like the Psalmist, we should choose to follow the path of truth, taking the “road less travelled by.” When we choose to follow that path, we will realize the truth expressed in the hymn composed by Fannie J. Crosby, one of the most prolific hymn writers of all times: “All the Way My Savior Leads Me.”