10/25/2020 Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I appreciate the old story about several blind men who were first introduced to an elephant. One of them was standing to the side of the elephant and felt its hard skin and said the elephant was like a sturdy wall. Another, who was holding its tail said, no it’s not, it is like a firm rope. Yet another, who had his arms around one the elephant’s legs said, no, you are both wrong. The elephant is like a large tree. The fourth blind man said, you are all wrong. The elephant is like a large powerful serpent, as he struggled with the elephant’s trunk. All of them were correct, yet each accused the others of being wrong. They all experienced part of what the elephant was. We are like that with God. Some people say God is peace, God is love. God is Mind, God is intention, creative, demanding, merciful. God is the Father, God is the Mother. God is…fill in the blank. And it is true, God is all those things…and more. It is true of the people we know and observe. We think they are a friend, or they are funny. They are a conservative, a liberal, intelligent or dumb. They are that and more. It is also true for ourselves. We are more than we think we are. We think we are a mother, or father, or businessperson. We think of ourselves as giving, loving, intelligent, generous, kind, perceptive, good listeners, strong leaders – and that is if we have a good self-image. Some of us spend too much time thinking about our faults and weaknesses, rather than our gifts and strengths. But no matter what we think we are, we are more. Yes, we are human beings and spiritual beings…and more. We are children of God – and more. We are more than we think, and we can do more than we think. We can give more, we can take on more, we can say more, read more, pray more, meditate more. We can work more, play more, be better than we are. We can know more, smile more, have more fun, even laugh at ourselves more. We can be more. We can love more. Whatever we hold dearest to us in hearts, we can have, do and be more.
Why? Because we are not alone in this. We have our own ingenuity and abilities to manage our earthly affairs, emotions, and situations, but we are told not to “lean on our own understanding.” So, to aid us on our life’s journey, Spirit has sent other people into our lives: spouses, families, friends, and other special people. And there is more available to us. Matthew 19:26 And Jesus looking upon [them] said to them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Mark 9:23 - And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst! All things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 10:27 - Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for all things are possible with God. With God, all things are possible. We are more than we think when we take God as our ally. We are told that in the twinkling of an eye, in a moment, we are transformed through the renewal of our minds. Not conforming to the world, to our limited human thinking, but are transformed to something more. By adjusting how we think, by changing our focus, and our perspective, we can align ourselves instantaneously with God’s will. In Wayne Dyers' book, The Power of Intention, he says, “Change how you see the world, and your whole world changes.” Renew your mind and be transformed. Hold positive thoughts in mind, and you attract that which is positive. Hold thoughts of being more, and you become more. Ask God to show you how you can be all that He wants you to be, then be open to His guidance, and move in that direction. We are more than we think we are because, in truth, we are not limited by our human thinking. We are more than conquerors of challenges, stress, and persecution. We are truly unlimited, because all things are possible in God, and if God is for us, who can be against us? Through Spirit, we can grow, change, transform, and experience the more of God. Romans 12:2 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. At some point in our lives, many of us have wanted to change something about ourselves: our weight, or looks, personality, situations, our lives.
When I was younger, I took a class where personalities were discussed. The subject got around to quiet and shy people – and the idea that once they were rid of their inner demons they would open up and become more outgoing and less inhibited. Although it was not a scientific discussion, it made an impression on me. I wanted to be more outgoing and friendly but it was foreign to me. I started thinking that maybe I was introverted because I had inner problems. I knew I had problems, but I didn’t want anyone else to know it!
Well, of course, over the years I have learned, studied, and grown in knowledge, and I now know that outgoing people can be just as messed up as us introverts! It has nothing to do with inner demons or psychological problems. The complete spectrum of personalities can be stable, productive, and healthy, and every sort of personality can be totally psychotic!
Regardless of our personality type, people often want to change themselves. We all have observed commercials that allude to this desire in people: dirty houses being made clean, losing weight, clothing choices, shows about complete makeovers, and there are many others probably that I have no idea even exist nor any interest in. But they play on the common human desire to be different than who we are now.
It is a common desire to be accepted, approved of, and appreciated. Some people seek a uniform social standard of thought and behavior dictated by our culture in hopes that the more we can conform then the more we will be accepted. So, some people smoke, drink, do drugs, wear particular clothing and hairstyles in hopes of being accepted. We work particular jobs and pursue specific careers with the goal of being appreciated and held in high approval. We behave in a specific way, use a specific vocabulary, and like specific things so that they can fit in.
Other people do just the opposite: they seem to outwardly buck the establishment and tradition, being the non-conformist and rebel. Strangely, their radical and mutinous behaviors and thought patterns have a law of conformity of their own, so all the insurgents tend to wear the same type of hair and wear the same type of clothing that identify them as non-conformists. They become a large group of non-conformists all conforming to pre-established standards for rebels. It's as if at the outset of being an antiestablishmentarian, they are given an instruction manual on "How To Be a Rebel." Oh, you're a non-conformist? Here, this is yours. Read it. It will tell you how to dress, speak, act, paint and pierce your body, and do your hair.
I do not mean to imply that this is everyone’s motivation in their behavior. Most of us are simply trying to have a nice day. We go about our business unaware of these conformity issues - until we look in the mirror and see that we haven’t shaved, or our hair is a little out of place, or we’ve put on a few extra pounds. This is when we notice that we are no longer in conformity with standards that we have accepted for ourselves, or… perhaps we have adopted these standards…. or our parents taught us…. Where do these standards come from, anyway?
The world, they come from the world: what we see others do, hear others say. They come from our parents, society, our culture, our schooling, and our environment. We each individualize our own set of standards, keeping what feels right, makes sense, and get the results we want, and abandoning the rest. These set of standards are different for each of us yet are pulled from the same common pool of the world.
And who is that ultimate decision maker for what is kept and what is discarded? By default, it is our ego. It is our small mind, our small self, that lower part of our humanness; this is what determines our behavioral set and our thought patterns.
Yet, the Bible verse says, “Do not conform to this world.” Do not try to align ourselves with the lower set of standards, those dictated by the ego. Those are the desires for control, power, and dominance. The ego wants the lower desires fed, the lusts, greed, and hate fed.
We are instructed not to conform to this world of desire, which implies that there is another world: a world of higher-level thoughts and values; a world that is determined by our higher natures, our spiritual natures.
We are then told that we can be transformed from this common world to the higher world by renewing our minds. I like the word used here – renew. For me this means to make new again, which means that it was new once, then got used, shabby, and hindered, then is made new again. Renewed. Be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This means to stop allowing the useless, detrimental, ego-based thoughts to shape our thinking, and allow our minds and hearts to ‘reset’ back to their original spiritual basis.
Colossians 3:8-12 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
It is my prayer that as we transform ourselves through the renewing of our minds, we will embrace the more of God. I pray that we refrain from conforming to the ways of the world, and again align ourselves with our inner Divine will. I pray we will open our minds to the abundance of health, peace, joy, and prosperity that God wants us to have. It will be everything our hearts and minds could imagine…and more.