Just ahead of Valentine’s Day, Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church Plano, Texas, told his congregation how to become a “Romans 12 kind of Christian” and warned against conforming to the world.
In a Feb. 13 sermon titled “Divine Direction,” Graham told hundreds of churchgoers that when Christians do not surrender to God, their minds will not be transformed by God. Instead of letting God’s light shine through them, they “cover Jesus,” who is inside of them.
“The world wants to seduce us, to squeeze us. Rather than becoming more and more like Jesus, we become more and more like the world, especially when we crawl off the altar,” the 71-year-old pastor and former Southern Baptist Convention president said.
“We are living off the altar as a sacrifice, and we’re on our own. That’s when the world begins to seduce us and squeeze us and cover our light. So, He says don’t do that. Stop. It’s an imperative. … Stop being ‘conformed to this world’ right now. And instead ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind,’” Graham added.
When Christians allow worldly things to influence them and make compromises, they are no longer a Christ-like example, according to the pastor.
“You are to be identified as a Christ-follower; a Christian because Christ is living in you. But, what happens is when we start conforming to the world and get into the world’s masquerade party, then it covers Christ,” he explained.
“You make compromises with your Christian faith. You cover who you really are. … You’re not showing Christ. You’re not lit up like Jesus around your friends or your coworkers,” he stressed.
Earlier in the sermon, Graham referred to Valentine’s Day as a “celebration of love.” He said that to be “transformed” by Christ, Christians should put Jesus first in their lives.
“The love of our life is Jesus. … We love our husbands and our wives more because we love Jesus most,” Graham contended. “Christ is first, and therefore those who are in our lives; we can love them well and love them better.”
“This is that lasting and living sacrifice. It is a logical sacrifice. In that, it is our reasonable service,” he added.
Graham emphasized that Christians should remember to follow Jesus and not be “conformed to the world” but be “transformed” by God.
“God has promised time and time again in the Bible that He will lead us. We are not left alone to figure it out by ourselves. God has a plan. God has a purpose even before you were born. These children, these babies; before they were born, God had a purpose and a plan for their lives. … God has a plan for every life and that includes your life,” he preached.
“And as a believer and follower of Jesus, He has promised to lead you throughout the days of your life. And in making those decisions, God’s guidance is promised,” he said.
Carrying out the will of God is the only proper way to live, Graham said. He said God’s will should be sought by every Christian when making life decisions.
“Your best life, your only life that is truly successful is a life given to following the Lord. … Your decisions determine your direction and your direction ultimately determines your destiny in life,” Graham said.
“And I’m talking about the big decisions that we make: where we go to school, who we marry, and if we have children, job, career, calling — all of these things. … God has a plan and He will let you know. God is not hiding His will from you. He wants you to know His will even more than you want to know it,” he added.
Being obedient to the word of God starts in a Christian’s mind, according to Graham, adding: “It’s the way you think and when you are presented to the Lord fully and completely.”
“And your mind is now transformed and you’re not allowing the world to cover up [Jesus],” the pastor said. “You can see clearly the path.”
Satan, who is the god of the world, Graham said, is anti-God and anti-Christ. The devil and those under his dominion want to lead Christians astray.
“The world wants to con you. The world wants to confuse you. The world wants to ‘conform you’ and the world wants to cover you,” the Reignite author said. “When you cover up your face, you can’t shine. Don’t let the world cover you up, con you, confuse you or conform you to fit into its own patterns and ways and principles and philosophies and values. The world has a view. This age has a worldview, and it’s not God.”
Christians will make mistakes, but Graham said having a mind “transformed” by Christ allows Christians to remember repentance, God’s forgiveness and mercy.
“When we fail, when we fall, when we stumble, we get back up and we keep going because our minds have been changed. We don’t think the way we used to,” he declared. “We now make choices between right and wrong and what is good and what is best between truth and lies. We know the path that is to be taken or not taken because now our mind is renewed.”