TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• 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 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I knew this one was coming: starting Friday at 5 PM, masks are now mandatory in NC. But there is a list of exceptions. Those include, but are not limited to 1) If you have a medical exception, 2) If you are actively eating or drinking, 3) If you are strenuously exercising or swimming, 4) If you are working from home or alone in your car, 5) If you are under the age of 11.
So based on these exceptions, it almost reads like North Carolinians are essentially mandated to be on the honor system… There are those who may argue with me, but the way I read this, if someone is adamantly opposed to mask-wearing (as many people are), all they need to do is keep a snack and bottle of water in hand every time they go out and BOOM! Loophole! The whole thing has left me scratching my head a little. I don’t like wearing masks, and thankfully, I’m not in a position that I have to very often. And please—if you’re pro-mask or anti-mask—I beg you not to start a debate here.
So why would I open my blog with such a contentious topic? No, I’m not begging for problems, but in my review of the governor’s new order and all the exceptions, I just have to laugh a little. It’s the same attitude people have about sin.
People want God to bless them and they want the security of His salvation, but they have a list of exceptions when it comes to following His commandments… why they are excused from following His written directives?
Romans 12:2 says, “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.” We often focus on the “do not conform/be transformed” part, but we glaze over the “discern what is the will of God.” That part is pretty key and because of that, the list of exceptions we’re tempted to write can’t work. Our exceptions to God’s will simply don’t go hand-in-hand with His transformation plans for our lives.
So what is God’s will? It’s His will that we be transformed to be like Jesus. And we do that by following (without exception) the two simple commandments that Jesus gave—“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets’” (Matthew 22:37-40).
“On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” means those two commands completely sum up the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20:1-17… because when we want to discern the will of God, we love Him first and others second.
Yet, we try. Please understand, I’m not pointing a finger of blame because I’m guilty too. I understand our tendency to want the loopholes and exceptions. But they aren’t there. If we truly from the bottom of our hearts want to follow the will of God and be more like Jesus, we will accept that. Not except that.
Paul wrote of these exception-makers, “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things” (Philippians 3:18-19). These are the people who are more interested in creating their own rules rather than living by and following God’s. And these not the kind of person who will produce spiritual fruit or be influential for the Kingdom of God.
Today, as you pray, thank God that His will is perfect. Without exception. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live according to God’s established guidelines, knowing that while your actions won’t save you (only Jesus saves!), but they can be used to make you more like Jesus.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.