Scripture Reference: Romans 12:1-2 (TPT; MSG); John 15:9-15 (NKJV); Acts 2:28 (NKJV); Acts 13:49-52 (NKJV); Acts 20:22-23 (NKJV); Romans 14:1-18 (NKJV); Romans 15:13 (NKJV)
1 Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Not worship because you sing it, worship because you live it. 2 Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes (Romans 12:1-2 TPT).
You need a total reformation of how you think, not a partial reformation. This applies to money; to the way you approach your future in terms of economic development; your potential and career development; your gifts, your callings. You’ve got to have a whole new mindset about how God can promote you and position you in life rather than the way you think.
The Message translation, 1-2So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. This is part of the transformation – embracing what God’s got for you rather than you telling God this is what I’m going to do. You want joy? Let God tell you what He wants for you. You don’t tell God what you want from Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you (Romans 12:1-2 MSG).
John 5:9-14 (NKJV), 9As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. This is an invitation that is also a command. The invitation doesn’t necessarily need a command if you accept it. 10If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. It means that your joy can be taken away from you – but don’t let it. Abide, stay in the love.
Blow your mind completely and say: Self, you must obey God and love Him and you must be full of joy.
Don’t find a whole lot of reasons from being so deeply steeped in the culture to not transform your thinking. What about if you just abide and you let Him guide you with joy and peace and your joy is so full. Whole transformed way of life, completely new thinking.
12This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14You are My friends. Jesus says, your relationship is on a whole different level if you do what He commands you. You have this companionship, this flow like friends do. If you do what He tells you then there’s no conflict because your thinking is His thinking. You’re connected in thought-life, in emotion, in peace. Because joy is an emotion. It’s a spiritual force emotion but it’s an emotion.
14You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You can choose to serve. You can have a mind-set that says, Jesus came to the earth to serve. He left all of what was in heaven, to come to take on the body of a man, and subject His life and take all of His glory and all of His life and put it into the body of a man. He did that to serve us. Ultimately, He did it so that He could serve the Father and He could serve us by dying. He came to die.
The power of serving – unlocks joy. It unlocks peace because you serve without trying to control or to be controlled. If you serve with joy that doesn’t mean you become a servant – neither a slave. You serve through power. Jesus endured the cross because of the joy that was set before Him. Just because you serve and you sacrifice and you transform your thinking and you give your body as a sacrifice, doesn’t mean to say you are in weakness. You are in the biggest place of strength in your life when you say: I sacrifice, I give my body, transform my thinking, I serve God with my life, I let my gifts and callings be used by Him. You are right in that moment where He’s saying your joy is now about to be full because you do everything He tells you to do.
28You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence (Acts 2:28 NKJV). Those two verses connect well together. Because if you do what God tells you to do, you obey Him – He makes you full of joy in His presence. Blow your mind – get joy. Walk around in corona time, walk around in economic depression time, walk around in sickness and disease time and smile and tell people how great your life is.
Examples of obedience in fulfilling God’s assignment that brought joy to the disciples:
Acts 13:49-52 (NKJV): Paul and Barnabas were filled with joy despite being chased out of Iconium because they were on assignment with God.
Acts 20:22 (NKJV). Paul was warned that tribulation awaited him in Jerusalem. Yet, his spirit was bound by assignment. He said, “None of it moves me. I have got to go anyway to be obedient to God. And I count it all joy – that I might finish my race with joy.”
We think that actually, we smart people, talented, got the stuff, we think we’ve got the right to run our lives the way we want to. You’ve been indoctrinated by culture, by the ways of the system, the ways of the world. You will have no better than the ways of the world. And you say, “Well, if I have good ways of the world that’s a good life.” Sorry to tell you; no joy, no peace, no God involvement, no God direction, no God blessing, no God favour. You may make a way for yourself that might look like that. But in a while it will start to crumble. It can’t be sustained. It’s just the truth.
I say: Joy sustains me. Joy keeps me strong. Joy invigorates me. My spirit life energy, assignment flowing. I get hope, get joy, get strength, I go fast, I’m effective, productive.
17For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. This kingdom that we’re living in is about our right ways with God and then those things bring peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men (Romans 4:17, 18 NKJV).
13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. That you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NKJV). God is a God of hope and of joy. If you feel hopeless – blow your mind up. Because God’s a God of hope. You feel like you’ve got no joy, blow your mind up. Get joy, make yourself happy.
Say: My feelings are subject to change. My circumstances are subject to change. Everything happening around me is subject to change. I change it with hope, I change it with joy, I change it with peace, I change it with the Word of God. And so, any of those hopeless, not joyful, bad thoughts, I blow them up.
I pray that this day, this week ahead of you, that you blow up your mind with joy. Blow up your mind and get the rewards. Just be transformed, be renewed, go with God, understand His ways and His assignment and His abiding that He wants you to do. He calls you friend when you obey Him and do things that He wants you to do.