Living the transformed life (Part 2)
High angle shot of an unrecognizable man reading his bible while sitting outside
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good. – Titus 2:11-14.
The transformed life is a life that has been renewed to serve and fulfill God’s purpose for mankind. Living the transformed life is a process, a journey that we each embark on when we personally accept and invite Jesus Christ to become Saviour and Lord of our lives. What better way can we do this than by conducting ourselves as best as we can in the manner that Jesus Christ did while here on earth.
Let’s recap some principles we can practiSe to live a transformed life.
1. Live an exemplary life no matter where we are. (Philippians 2:15)
2. Eschew self-centredness by looking out for the interests for each other. (Philippians 2:4)
3. Don’t wait for the government to do everything. (James 2:14-16)
4. Stewardship requires faithfulness. (1 Corinthians 4:2)
5. Respect authority and national laws. (1 Peter 2:13-18)
6. Be content. (Hebrews 13:5)
7. Eschew idleness. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
8. Pursue justice and fairness in all your dealings. (Colossians 4:1)
Most of these principles are not easy to follow especially if we find ourselves in the company of friends and/or fellow believers who have no sense of patriotism or people who have lost faith in Ghana’s ability to stand tall again. Nevertheless, there is hope because God’s grace is always sufficient and because with Him all things are possible. God empowers all those who are willing to do the right thing.
To overcome these realities that discourage us from conducting ourselves responsibly and responsively as Christian citizens in this nation, we need to remember:
- God has given us His Holy Spirit: With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can pray for our leaders at the workplace, in Parliament, and at the Presidency, even if we don’t feel like it or even if we don’t want to. The Holy Spirit is able to turn any disappointment and bitterness in our hearts against them into intercessory tears and prayers that are precious in the sight of God, and which can avail much for the nation. With the Holy Spirit we can work with excellence.
- God is watching us: The Bible tells us that the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch over good and evil. He sees and knows how you are wasting or productively using your employer’s paid time, resources, and opportunities you have been given. He sees and knows if and whether you sabotage your colleague, your supervisors and your employers. He sees and He knows if, how and when you deliberately underpay your workers, mistreat your workers, withhold their salaries unduly, etc. Maybe, from time to time we must play Bette Midler’s song ‘From A Distance’ to remind us about this.
- God has entrusted us with diverse gifts (Rom.12:6-8): Each of us carries a unique set of gifts, knowledge and experiences that no one else does. Some carry the grace to teach, others carry the grace to encourage/motivate others, while others are graced with the ability to lead, to give, and to show mercy (Rom.12:6-8). That is why we have been placed in different sectors of the economy and country to contribute in ways that no one else can. The Waakye Vendor can prepare delicious waakye that you can never successfully emulate no matter how beautiful or well-fitted your kitchen is. The Farmer has physical stamina and endurance that most people in the corporate sector can only wish for. The Engineer can build things that will make even the most respected medical doctor envious. The housewife can nurture and nourish her family in ways that the Corporate Woman may not have the opportunity to do. The Clergy can provoke the conscience and the gifting within their church members to spur them on to walk in entrepreneurship, accountability, integrity, and responsibility no matter what their professions or vocation may be. In short, we are different but let’s respect our differences, and use those differences to make a positive difference wherever we are. Indeed our differences should enrich us not destroy us.
- God determines the boundaries of where we live (Acts 17:26): There is a reason God allowed us to be born in Ghana and live in Ghana. Although this reason may not be clear to us (in fact we may never discover it), yet God expects us to make the most of our situation no matter what Ghana’s current circumstances are. He tells us in His word that if we are willing and obedient we will eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19). In other words, if we are willing and obedient to do what He tells us (that is, to pray for our leaders [1 Timothy 2:1-2], to seek the good of our leaders and our nation [Jeremiah 29:7]), He will surely cause us to enjoy the best that our nation can offer us. Proverbs 27:18 confirms this: ‘Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit;…’. This Scripture is simply telling us that we will partake of everything and anything we help to build. Therefore, if you and I contribute our quota to develop this nation, you can be sure that by God’s own divine mandate, we will prosper as this nation prospers.
As Christians, the power of God at work in us empowers us to live a transformed life can and will empower us to play our part in advancing the development of Ghana, our motherland.
We are therefore Society’s Asset. No wonder Proverbs 11:11 says that “Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.”
Every city has a mood, or perhaps an ethos, an attitude, or a culture. Whatever environment it has created for itself has enormous potential to shape the lives of its residents and form their perspectives. As much as we like to think we are independent individuals unaffected by the attitudes and decisions of the people around us, we are all part of a community. Our lives are interconnected.
That’s why Scripture tells us that upright citizens are good for a city and the negative talk can rip it apart. Our cities may not have the same dynamics as those in the ancient world when this proverb was written, but they are still built on relationships. A society filled with people who are invested, positive, constructive and dedicated to God’s ways will prosper, even when its citizens don’t understand why. A society filled with apathetic, negative, destructive, and amoral people will never have a short of problems. The differences between the two may not be readily apparent on the surface – prosperity takes different forms – but the long-term health of a culture stands or falls not on its majorities but on the level of involvement of its godly remnants. A little salt and light can have a huge effect on its surroundings.
As conventional as it sounds, God has called His people to be upright citizens. Society needs us to contribute our ethics and gifts to its well-being. Doing so puts us in a position of service and influence and seasons the whole culture. It’s one of the ways God extends His grace to this world and creates avenues for reaching others hearts and lives.
Let us never underestimate our significance as godly members of the society. We may think our contributions are unnoticeable, and we may never see tangible effects of our influence. But we are part of God’s Kingdom on earth that is never unimportant. Our city – or town or region – has its own atmosphere, and we have a hand in shaping it.
Hymn: A Charge to Keep I Have – MHB 578
1 A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
2 To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;
O may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!
3 Arm me with jealous care
As in Thy sight to live,
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!
4 Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall for ever die.
Charles Wesley (1707-1778)
By Dr Joyce Aryee, the author
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