Everyday your character is being shaped… by the world or by God. We allow generational chains of bondage to influence how we think…molding us into people we don’t want to become. We allow the world’s dominance to sway how we behave around others…even when it’s contrary to how we really feel inside. Spiritual renewal of your mind is a determined process you must undertake yourself. It’s an evaluation of God’s Will – His good and well-pleasing Will for your life – as you allow your character to undergo a metamorphosis, a regeneration of how you think. Don’t be squeezed into the world’s mold for you. Decide today what’s going to be shaping your mind…the world or God.
Jesus spoke of this glory in John 17:22, when He said, “I have given them the glory that You gave Me that they may be one as we are one.” When we become Christians, we undergo a spiritual transformation…a invisible process, a metamorphosis if you will, where our very character is changed. And by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we become a mirror, reflecting Jesus to others. But you’ll also notice that this Scripture says we are “being” transformed with “ever-increasing” glory…which means His work in us will never be completely done until that day we meet Him face to face.
Philip, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, had found a Ethiopian eunuch traveling the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. The eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah, but was perplexed, so Philip started with that scripture, (Isaiah 53:7-8) and explained to the eunuch the good news of Jesus. Later as they traveled together, they came upon some water and it’s here the eunuch asks, “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” Now in some late manuscripts verse 37 is added which says, “Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The eunuch answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ ” Baptism is the public demonstration of a personal decision…it symbolizes spiritual renewal, forgiveness of sins, adoption by God and eternal life. If you are a Believer but have never been baptized…ask yourself the same question the eunuch did, “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”
If you think about it…we’re all like the prodigal son. We were all spiritually dead – separated from God the Father, with no hope of eternal life…when we were made live again, by the blood of Jesus Christ. For we all had wandered away from our Heavenly Father, just like the prodigal son…and just like the prodigal son, when we had come to our senses in the middle of that pig pen – we realized we couldn’t make it on our own. That’s when we returned. We returned to a loving Father with outstretched arms, rushing to meet us and draw us to Him.
Baptism…just as during the time of John the Baptist, is a public action, for an internal, personal decision for Christ. It symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through the forgiveness of sins to those who repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Baptism is part of the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” As a new Christian, you don’t have to be perfect before you can be baptized…you don’t have to have it “all together” and cleaned up prior either. Baptism is a public “Just as I am” coming to Jesus moment.
Here Paul is comparing the human body with the body of Christ…the Church. Just as the many parts of the human body work together in complete harmony…each with its own unique purpose, the body of Christ – the Church and its many parts need to come together in like-mindedness also. And just like the human body, one part cannot work in isolation from the rest. That would be like one Sunday morning your heart getting up and deciding not to be part of your body that day! You may think that your presence at Church doesn’t matter…but it does…the whole body suffers when one part is absent.
Everyone can use encouragement…everyone likes words of appreciation. This week I was explaining to a group of ladies the purpose of this Devotional. Over 4 years ago, the Lord challenged me to become a modern-day Barnabas…an encourager of others. And in today’s world of negativity – I would challenge you also to become that man or woman of God that strengthens those around you…renewing souls with encouragement and gratitude…reviving and renewing those who are discouraged and down-trodden. A kind word could be life changing to someone around you today….resolve to be a Barnabas.