The Crooked Handlebars
I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is† your reasonable [religious] service.† Ė Romans 12: 1
And be not conformed to this world:† but be transformed [transfigured] by the renewing of your mind, that she may prove what is† that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.† Ė Romans 12: 2
You must understand that the overall topic and subject matter of this teaching is the renewed mind.† The renewed mind is your key to power.† The more you renew your mind to Godís Word and change your thinking and actions to line up with the Word of God, the more power you will have in your daily walk.† You will notice in the second Scripture above that God does not want you to conform to this world.† You should know by now that II Corinthians 4: 4 tells you simply that the god of this world is Satan.† So how can you conform to this world if it belongs to him?† You must conform to the Word of God and again that requires you to renew your mind to what God has to say.† You must not only change your thinking, but you must change your actions.† That is what this teaching is all about.† As you continue to renew your mind, you will prove to yourself the acceptable and perfect Will of God.† God will show you that his Word is the only truth in the world today.† In time, He will prove that to you as you make forth an effort to line up your thinking and actions with what He directs you should do in your life.
This may appear to be a very simple teaching.† However, the importance of the teaching is also very important.† You may remember one of the most recent teachings with the title ďAsk First and Then You SeeĒ.† This teaching also reflects the renewed mind efforts that you put forth in your walk with God.† The title is a figure of speech referring to our old man and how we walked with crooked handlebars all of the time.† Did this ever happen to you when you were a child?† Maybe your father came along and straightened out the handlebars on your bicycle.† You may remember that you begun to have a hard time driving your bicycle.† You might even crash into some trees or a telephone pole.† Why?† Because you had not renewed your mind to the correction in your handlebars.† They were now straight, but you had a tendency to turn them like they used to be for many years.† You understand what I mean.
Let us use a very simple example to begin with.† Let us assume that someone reading this teaching likes to go into stores and shoplift.† The world makes this very easy to do although it is getting more and more difficult.† This turns out to be a very bad habit and a serious crime in different parts of the country.† People have gone to jail for retail theft.† For the sake of the teaching, we will begin to say that this all happened before you learned the Word of God.
Let him that stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his† hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.† Ė Ephesians 4: 28
It becomes obvious in your old man days that your social behavior pertaining to this matter relates to operating your life with the crooked handlebars.† You were doing what was wrong and yet you justified it in your own mind, didnít you?† Well, you need to know that the devil has a spirit of rationalization where you can talk yourself into doing almost anything and think it is okay.† This is where the renewed mind comes into action.† God says that you should steal no more, but rather that you should work and do things that are good and in this manner you may even have enough to give to someone who needs some help.† You have got to see clearly the analogy that I am making here.† You ran your life before you knew God and the handlebars were always crooked.† This is just one example, but what happens to people is when they do wrong in one area of their life, they usually do wrong in all other areas of their life.† Once we learn the Word of God in a particular area, actually in many areas, then we are responsible to carry it out.† Now when the Word of God straightens out your handlebars, it is sometimes not easy to make the proper adjustment.† You have to work at it and strive to do the right thing.† You must know the Word of God to straighten out your life.
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.† Ė II Timothy 2: 15
Believe it or not, you have an excuse not to do what the Word of God says if you do not know what it says.† This can be quite an excuse for a lazy person.† But you always get back what you give out and if you do not study Godís Word, you will face all types of destruction and negatives in your life.† Godís Word is our blueprint for living.† If the creator created life, I think he knows how to live it, donít you?† So almost the first thing you have to do is to study Godís Word and you will run across scores of information that may have contradicted the way you are presently living.† Let me give you another example that many of us are susceptible to.† It sometimes becomes one of the most difficult acts to straighten out the handlebars in this area.† Letís get to the Scripture.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather† give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is† mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.† Ė Romans 12: 19
First, we must rightly divide the verse.† When it says to give place unto wrath, it is not your wrath, but it is Godís wrath.† I misunderstood the proper use of this noun for many many years until someone helped me to straighten out my handlebars and to make me see that wrath was referring to the wrath of God and not an individualís wrath.† Now that we have that out of the way, letís get to the main point as to why I chose this particular Scripture.
Most of us, if not all of us seek vengeance upon people who have hurt us.† This is wrong Ė just dead wrong.† If we react to what an enemy throws at us, that enemy sees that we are upset by what he is doing so he will continue to do the same thing.† Believe it or not, the best way to react to this situation is to NOT REACT at all.† This is a difficult principle for most people to acquire.† It has been one of my most difficult areas in my renewed mind.† It comes down to very simple examples.† If someone is making noise in your neighborhood and you ignore them constantly, they will eventually stop making that noise because theyíre not getting any attention for what they are doing.† But if you go out and start yelling at that neighbor and maybe threatening them because of the noise he is making, believe me that will not solve the problem.† That will make it worse.† If youíre used to seeking vengeance the Word of God says do not seek vengeance for yourself.† The Scripture says to step aside and to let God get vengeance for you.† God gives all of us free will.† We can either obey or not obey.† I am actually dealing with that situation right now.† When the devil sees me sit down to do a teaching, he goes whacko.† He makes all type of noise outside with my neighbors and even in my own house, my dog starts to bark.† If I can help you learn something I will.† Animals treated with the love of God are just beautiful.† But you must remember that every animal that God has made is only body and soul.† They are under the control of the adversary when they are treated wrongly.† That is why some animals are very friendly and others can be very vicious.† If they are vicious, it is usually the fault of the owner who treats that animal in a terrible manner.† Now most of your life you may have been seeking vengeance upon people who have done things purposely to hurt you.† But youíve got to straighten out those handlebars because they are very crooked and you are going to have no end of continuous problems all of your days on this earth.† Youíre going to react and your enemies are going to react and there is just no end to it.† If only everyone would realize that what they give out always comes back to them.† Itís called the immutable law of giving equals receiving and it is set forth to us by God Almighty.† This world would be a wonderful place in which to live if everyone acted accordingly.† Some people get so used to those crooked handlebars that they are not willing to change.† These are the people that you must keep away from and let us, as Christians, be sure that we do not become like them.
Be not deceived; evil communications [associations] corrupt good manners [morals].† Ė I Corinthians 15: 33
This verse combines with other verses and relates to straightening out your handlebars.† If you fellowship with darkness, eventually that darkness will corrupt you.† If you become a Christian and want to live by what the Word of God says, you must get away from evil associations which are people.† People can be the greatest thorns in your flesh that you can ever imagine.† I had what was once my best friend.† We were both witnessed to at the same time.† I followed up and went to what was called a Branch meeting.† My friend just refused to go and he made a stupid crazy remark that if anybody else could study and work the Bible, that he could also.† He was full of pride and he was deathly afraid of straightening out his crooked handlebars.† He was ashamed of the Bible and he was ashamed to tell people that he studied so he returned to his old self again.† He wound up marrying a girl that I warned him about.† She eventually took half of his trucking business and his child and half of his money and left him alone.† I was supposed to meet up with him and we both had to travel a certain distance.† He never called me back.† I felt bad for him but I wasnít about to fellowship with him because I knew what he did many years ago.† He outright turned his back on God Almighty and on Godís Word.† It didnít matter how much I explained to him about how great this was, he refused to give up his old ways and his old life.† I tried my best to straighten out his handlebars but he would not let me get my hands on any tools.† Do we get that?† I still feel bad for him, but nothing is perfect in the second heaven and earth.† We can look forward to the third heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness and true holiness.† This will happen when Jesus Christ returns for the second time and many of us will receive rewards for what we have done in this life.† As far as Iím concerned I donít want any rewards.† I just want to be with God and Jesus Christ on earth where there is no sin sickness or death.† We must wait for that glorious day, but I will guarantee you itís coming.† I staked my whole life on it.† Jesus Christ came once and he promises heís coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and no one but no one is going to crucify him on a cross.† He is going to take the adversary and put him in the lake of brimstone and fire where he will suffer and burn every single day.† In the meantime, God expects us to straighten out our handlebars.† I hope you never forget that term because we all need to renew our minds all of the time.† It is a continuous process and we must realize that none of us will ever have a perfectly renewed mind in this life.† But things will get better and better as we continue to try.
If there is one situation that exists in this world and is even acceptable to many people, it is a lie.† People who lie are the most obnoxious people that I have ever met.† The ironic thing about this devilish habit is that you often see it on television also.† This should tell you who is in charge of things like the television and many other devices that we use every day.† This is how the devil introduces his way of life to many people.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:† for we are members one of another.† Ė Ephesians 4: 25
Thatís what the Word of God says and thatís what the Word of God means.† We are to speak the truth to one another because we are all equal.† Of course, that isnít the only reason.† I was told once in my life that you can never go wrong if you tell the truth.† But when you lie, you then have to make up another lie to cover up the previous lie.† I know a person who is an incessant liar.† He lies to people Ė he lies to neighbors Ė he lies to the police.† This person actually runs a business and I will bet you that he lies to every one of his customers.† When you run across this type of situation, you should just give it to God.† Cast all your care upon Him because He cares for you.
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.† Ė I Peter 5: 7
Believe it or not, we are not to sweat, stress, or strain.† If we can go to God in prayer and trust that He will take care of our problems, then He will.† You must see that it all boils down to believing.† We must believe that God will take care of all of our care.† Verse 6 and verse 8 of this same chapter would be wise for you to read.† I am only going to quote verse 8.† There are times and situations that we cannot handle things on our own and we must turn to God for help.† Verse 8 tells us why.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.† Ė I Peter 5: 8
Letís get back to the person who always lies.† Are you one of those people?† Then Iím going to get repetitious and tell you the same thing that Iíve said many times in this teaching.† Your handlebars are crooked. †You need to straighten them out.† You must stop lying.† It is that simple but it is not the easiest thing for you to do.† Your brain builds a chain of neurons and electrons that you could call habits.† Habits are quite difficult to break.† But if you try hard enough, you can change your habits.† You may have a habit of lying and if you work hard enough at it, your brain will break that chain and build a new chain of neurons and electrons.† I donít mean to get into science here, but I think itís a very good analogy.† Donít you think I had habits that I had to break?† I was full of pride when I was younger.† I would put pride in front of me to protect me because I was afraid.† When the Word of God rooted that fear out of me, I became a new man.† I reckoned the old man dead.† Every time you renew your mind to a principal in the Word of God, you keep those handlebars straight.† The Word of God will straighten out the crooked handlebars.† You must believe this and act upon the Word of God and then you will see results.
I could go on and on about this subject forever.† But Iím sure that you have got the gist of this teaching.† So why donít we stop here and I ask you to keep in mind that when you are off the Word, as a figure of speech, you can say that your handlebars are crooked and you need to get them straightened out.† Well, Godís Word will straighten you out if you just give it a try.† Every man and woman has free will to accept or reject Godís Word.† God does not want us to be like robots programmed to love Him.† He wants our love for Him to be the result of our free will.† Remember the Scriptures as they will give you the strength that you need to change your ways and to make your ways line up with what the Words says.
I can do all things through Christ which [who] strengtheneth me.† -- Philippians 4: 13
What shall we say then to these things?† If God be† for us, who can be† against us?† -- Romans 8: 31