“Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Not being conformed, to live differently than the world… Looking at this verse it’s easy to say that I do live differently–I don’t swear, I don’t dress immodestly, I don’t party But what if that isn’t enough? What if God calls us to a higher standard?
This past month or so, we have been going through two different books: Touching Godliness by K.P Yohannan and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. These books have really impacted my view of life. Life is so fragile and short. The Bible says it is like a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. What we do in this little while determines our eternity.
Deuteronomy 10:13 puts everything I have been learning in one paragraph:
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?
It sounds simple but when I look at each command more closely, I realize it is so different than the normal Christian life.
To fear God: To fear God means to show respect and reverence. How often do we give a hurried prayer asking God to bless our day and then not think of Him again until we are in need of Him? If we took the time to examine and ponder over how great and amazing our God is, it would cause us to come before Him in awe and reverence.
To walk in His ways: How many of us truly live as Christ lived on earth? Do we love the poor and needy as he did? Do we take time to share the gospel with the people around us ? Do we forgive those who wrong us and love those who hurt us? Christ did all these things and He calls us to follow Him.
To serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul: This is taking it a step further. We are not only called to follow Christ, but to do so with a joyful heart. Everything we do as we follow Christ must be done with a genuine heart of love, and not just because we feel obligated to serve. God doesn’t want half-hearted service; He wants all of us or nothing. Jesus said to pick up your cross and follow Him. He certainly didn’t leave room for excuses or halfheartedness.
We are to keep His commandments: Someone asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” When we are more concerned about things in our lives than the things of God, or God Himself, we break this commandment. How many of us even think about others half as much as we think of ourselves? I know I don’t!
The most encouraging part of this verse is the end of it. God commands these things for our good. God wants us to enjoy life and make the most of it and He knows the only way to do so is by obeying His commands.
As you probably have realized by now, this sure doesn’t sound like the life the world advertises. In my personal life, I find it difficult to stay focused on Christ and the things that will count for eternity. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day, to worry about all the little things that happen. What encourages me and keeps me going is that I don’t have to do it on my own. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us and gives us the power to live out this abnormal lifestyle.
—School of Discipleship student
School of Discipleship CA
O what fullness of life, to trust and obey the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Having studied the book “Touching Godliness“ by K.P. Yohannan, I have learned much about submission to authority, and how submission and obedience is the secret to an intimate relationship with God and with my fellow creation. It amazes me that submission to authority and obedience to the commands of that authority are the principles on which all invisible and visible things exist and are sustained. If GOD were not holding all things in order as the ABSOLUTE authority, this world would be absolute chaos. I’m sure I would have been annihilated a long time ago by a falling star, if God were not in control and holding all things in order with absolute perfection!
Unfortunately, my natural sinful arrogant nature wants to do everything but submit and obey to God and others. I realize this is my overruling problem; that as long as I want to live my own way doing what I think is best I will never truly come to know and live the life that God desires me to live — one of freedom and peace and joy! The amazing thing is that we can live an intimate life with God with only one condition: that we die to ourselves. Hebrews 5:8 says that “Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered”. I guess that means we “must suffer” if we are ever going to come to a place of obedience. This is most certainly true but the amazing thing, is that what is already “wretched and rotten” is that which will suffer and die so that we can be raised anew to truly live a godly life! This is a most amazing exchange and oh so worth it. Learning to Trust and Obey Him, is to KNOW HIM and this is all we need!
—School of Discipleship student
In School of Discipleship, we dug into the area of submission. I know, I know, it’s not really a top favourite thing to learn, but Praise God we did! As a class, we read the book by Brother KP, called Touching Godliness. This book was something I know the Lord needed me to read!
I don’t really think I knew the vastness of submission, until reading and learning these materials. I think one can become so numb and senseless to it, as one continues to have the selfish mindset of rebellion. There is so much that God taught me in this unit! I learned that when I rebel to my authority God has placed over me, I am ultimately rebelling against God who sovereignly placed them there! I then become easy prey for the enemy to seek and destroy. Even when I submit half-heartedly, I am living in rebellion. What?!? I thought when I rebelled, it was because I was right!! No, no, I am learning that it is more like a lack of faith and God’s promises! This is truly a startling thought to ponder!
I truly give thanks to God for this unit! Thank-you also to the facilitators that so clearly taught this, not only in the unit, but also by example! Now, the hard part come, where I must pray for strength to live out what He has taught me. I believe this will be a battle that my flesh must continue to war against. But, Praise God for His grace! He reminds me that He is on my side in this war against self-centredness!
Father, may my focus be on You always! Even when I struggle to want my way, teach me to let go and cling to You! I praise You for your unending grace and patience as I walk this journey of life.
—School of Discipleship student
Desiring godliness is one thing, living it is a whole different story! In his book “Touching Godliness” Bro. K.P. does a marvelous job at breaking this subject down in a way that is easy to understand. He captures your attention with both Biblical examples and stories as well as with true to life occurrences from his own life. The message this book gives has been so long forgotten that anyone who truly grasps the message that is portrayed within its pages will, with God’s help, be able to enjoy a life that is lived in the very center of God’s will.