WISDOM FOR LIVING DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 14, 2020
TOPIC: LIVING BY GOD’S STANDARDS
BY T. O. BANSO
“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect” (Romans 12:2 Good News Translation).
When anyone gives his life to Jesus Christ, the Bible says old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). What God expects is for such a person to move from the old life to the new life in Christ Jesus.
In the new life in Christ, a born again person will have to unlearn what he has learnt before and learn new things that are consistent with his new life in Christ Jesus. Jesus says that we should come and learn from Him (Matthew11:29).
Colossians 1:13-14 says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (New King James Version). Salvation translates us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Before anyone comes to Christ, he was living by the world’s standards. But when anyone comes to Christ, he is invited to live by God’s standards. These new standards are contained in the Bible. A Christian belongs to a kingdom different from the kingdom of this world and therefore, cannot be living by the standards of the world. Christians are in the world but they are not of the world (John 17:14-16).
Their righteousness is no longer self-righteousness, which the Bible says is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). They, like Paul, don’t have their own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness, which is from God by faith (Philippians 3:9).
Unfortunately, many profess to be Christians but are not committed to living by God’s standards. They live without the consciousness of who they are in Christ. They still subscribe to the world’s way of doing things. Such people are conforming to the world rather than being transformed into who they were born again to become.
The apostle Paul says, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect” (Romans 12:2 Good News Translation). Please take note of that phrase: the standards of this world. That suggests that there is another standard: God’s standards.
Christians are not born again to conform to the standards of the world. They are born again to be transformed or changed by God inwardly by a complete change of the mind. This inward transformation of the believer by the renewing of his mind will eventually change him outwardly.
When a believer undergoes a renewing of the mind, he will know the standards of God. In other words, he will know the will of God, which is what is good, is pleasing to Him, and is perfect.
The Bible in Basic English renders Romans 12:2 thus: “And let not your behaviour be like that of this world, but be changed and made new in mind, so that by experience you may have knowledge of the good and pleasing and complete purpose of God.”
Your behavior as a Christian is supposed to be different from that of the world as you grow in Christ. The old life has passed away; you should live a new life. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:8-11 New King James Version).
Two opposite phrases are used in the scripture you’ve just read: the old man and the new man. A Christian puts off the old man and puts on the new man. This is evident in the change of behavior.
Hear what Paul says again in Ephesians 4:20-24: “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (New King James Version).
God wants you to be transformed, not to conform to this world. You’re to put off the old man and put on the new man. In Christ Jesus, you learn the standards of God, which are contrary to the standards of the world. On some occasions, Jesus, while teaching, would say something like, “You have heard that it was said …..but I say to you…” That’s setting God’s standards God for everyone to live by. Are you living by God’s standards or the world’s standards?
In Matthew 5:21-23, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire” (New King James Version).
Jesus further said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (verses 27-30 New King James Version).
There are still more instances Jesus used that phrase, “You have heard that it was said …..but I say to you…” For instance, He also said in verses 43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (New King James Version).
Generally, the teachings of Jesus state God’s standards that His followers should live by. The Bible is the manual of the standards of God for living. How much time do you spend studying it? What is the level of your obedience? “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 New King James Version).
You cannot claim to be a Christian and be living by the standards of the world. You cannot be a Christian and still be engaging in the sinful practices of this world, which is normal in their kingdom. Their affection should not be your affection, because your destination is not the same.
The word of Jesus to you is: “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14 New King James Version). Are you living conscious of this or you’re living as sinners live?
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 New King James Version).
You cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:2; Luke 16:13). If Jesus is your Lord and Saviour, serve Him. Worship Him. But if you follow the world’s standards, you’re worshipping Satan whose end and that of his followers are in the lake of fire. Worship God in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Don’t claim to be a Christian and be worshipping Satan.
Live by God’s standards. “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17 New King James Version).
Live by God’s standards. Don’t blend or integrate with the world. Be different. Be the light of your world (Matthew 5:14). Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (verse 16).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, You have made me the light of the world; my light shall shine in Jesus’ name. The darkness of this age shall not cover my light. Holy Spirit, I yield to your control to live by God’s standards. I shall not live by the world’s standards.
(For over 300 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T.O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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