Moment by moment, we must learn to say no to sin and worldly motivations. In a world of moral relativism, where everything is reduced to personal choice, simply saying no is in itself a very hard teaching. If it does not seem hard, then we are probably accommodating the world without realizing it. If we are not saying no in ways that bring us to our knees to seek God's enabling power, then it's likely that we are not standing against the sinful system of the world as we ought.
The principle of dying to worldly systems applies beyond obvious sins. In a culture that measures everything in terms of size, success, and influence, we have to say no to these worldly values as well. In a culture that judges people by reputation and achievements, we have to resist the lure of living for professional recognition and advancement. Not that these things are wrong in themselves. But when they fill our hearts and define our motivations, then they become barriers to our relationship with God--which means they become sin for us. As Paul says, anything not of faith is sin, because it blocks our singleminded devotion to God and hinders our growth in holiness. (Total Truth, pg. 356-357)
The challenge for Christians today is to move beyond salvation and into sanctification. It is not enough to simply bring someone to salvation, rather our charge is to teach people to follow Christ in their daily lives at every level and in every situation. Every decision we make, every situation we encounter should be examined through the lens of the biblical worldview. When confronted with a decision we should ask ourselves whether we are making our decision based on worldly wisdom (which is inherently foolish) or on biblical wisdom. Have we consulted the Bible for guidance on how to deal with that situation? Have we prayerfully considered our options before moving forward? Are responding according to cultural norms or biblical mandates? This is what Paul was referring to when he wrote about being transformed by the renewing of our minds.
The Christian faith is not simply an emotional conversion experience. It's not just about receiving pardon from our sins by pledging our faith in Jesus Christ. It is about living a life set apart from the world. Jesus has the power not only to save but to change lives as well. It's time for Christians to be living transformed lives. Nothing speaks louder to a fallen world than to see Jesus in each one of us.
Previous entries in this series:
Blogging Total Truth
Total Truth - Part 1 - What's In a Worldview?
Total Truth - Part 2 - Starting at the Beginning
Total Truth - Part 3 - How We Lost Our Minds