Target Practice?

Monday, August 12, 2002

Romans 12:1-2 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)

I remember a cartoon from yesteryear. It showed two elks standing together in a clearing. One elk had a vivid alternating black and white concentric ringed mark on his chest. The companion to the elk with the unusual markings said, "That's a very unfortunate birthmark you have on your chest!"

Sometimes, because of my thoughts and actions, say watching a film on television, I re-expose my underlying fallen-ness of being and make the statement to the world, "Come and get me." As we opt in to the things of this world that are not helpful, we can be in danger of stepping outside the protective care of Jesus.

We become open season for the hunters of this age.

As redeemed human beings, we are no longer subject to this life alone, because, in Christ, we are set free from slavery to the attitudes of this age. We have to live by His rules and under His supernatural armour. This is a continuing process of repentance and acceptance of redemptive grace.

The sobering thought that I am not right, brings me quickly back to His sovereign protection, a bit like the cartoon character who finds himself standing in fresh air, the ground having vanished from beneath his feet and gravity about to act!

The first step we take to get back to firm ground is to be reminded that we are all sinners. Grace is a gift of God to be accepted. We are exceedingly grateful to be under this continuing process of cleansing and renewal.

The second step is to be prepared to include Jesus in our decision making and actions, excluding nothing, making a response with all that we are, and all that we are able to give at present, to Him.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, we rejoice that you have set us free. Once more today, we ask you to inhabit those areas of faith and will where we are struggling, and we grant you access to strengthen us and encourage our desire for the good. Once more today, Lord, we ask you into those areas of faith and will where you already reign, and we ask that you keep us in that way. Lord, we ask you to look for us and guide us back, where we have erred and strayed and cannot see the narrow path. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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