Transformation

Steve Arterburn

Spiritual growth is all about being transformed into the person God envisions you to be.  Confessing your sin and shortcomings is a part of this process of transformation.  Whenever you confess your sin and shortcomings’your anger, lust, addiction, selfishness’whatever it is’you can have full confidence that God will forgive you, give you the power to change, and transform your life.

The apostle Paul wrote, ‘Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes’ (Ephesians 1:4).  God desires to make you holy’that is, to form his character in you.  Looking through the eyes of love, he already sees you as you will look when his work is done.  Spiritual renewal is the process of correcting your life to match what God envisions it to be.  The Bible tells us God’s discipline is always right and good because it means we will share in his holiness.  It is God’s will for you to be made holy.

When you ask God to develop such holiness in you, he eagerly responds to your request.  The apostle John wrote, ‘And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will.  And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for’ (1 John 5:14-15).

Warfare Prayer

Steve Arterburn

Are you facing a strong temptation?  Interpersonal conflicts?  Difficult circumstances?  In the Bible the apostle Paul uses the analogy of armor and warfare to teach about the equipment that’s essential for standing against temptation and spiritual attack.  

First, he encourages you to put on the belt of truth.  Satan is the father of lies.  He’s constantly trying to deceive and trap you.  In contrast, all of your armor is held together by truth, which comes from the Father of Truth.

Next, you need to put on the body armor of God’s righteousness.  Though there are many levels of meaning to this phrase, the primary one is that you’re forgiven and accepted through faith in Jesus Christ alone.  You’re not protected by your own righteousness; you need the righteousness of God.

Next, you’re called to put on the shoes of peace and carry this Good News to people everywhere.

You’re also given a shield of faith to protect you against Satan’s accusations and persecutions.  Prayer leads to faith.  It keeps your vision clear when circumstances cloud your way.

The helmet of salvation is next on Paul’s list.  In addition to protecting the wearer, the helmet identified a soldier’s allegiance.  You belong to the company of Christ.  

Finally, you’re armed with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  The sword is your only offensive weapon.  

God never leaves his men behind in battle.  Read Paul’s warfare prayer from the book of Ephesians 6:10-18 for help.

Worship

Steve Arterburn

Worship is a way of life.  Worship isn’t simply what you do for God in church; it’s also who you are for God in the world.  

So how can you bring worship into you daily life?  Let’s consider some suggestions from another man’the apostle Paul. In chapter twelve of his letter to the Romans he gives us some good counsel.

First he says you need to allow God to transform your mind.  In this way, your allegiance is transferred from the world to God.

Second, he tells you to serve others with your gifts.  This displays God’s glory as your Creator.  You should rejoice in these gifts and use them to accomplish God’s purposes.

And third, Paul says you need to be a reflection of God’s love and grace.  The second great commandment is that you love others as yourself.  Paul provides numerous concrete examples of how you can obey this commandment.  These aren’t simply humanitarian gestures.  They are acts of worship, acts that please and honor God.  Let me leave you with a few ways Paul says you’re to worship God.

Love each other with genuine affection
Never be lazy in your work
Be glad for all God is planning for you
Be prayerful
When God’s children are in need, be the one who helps
Get into the habit of inviting guests for dinner, or if they need lodging, for the night
Don’t try to act important but enjoy the company of ordinary people