How are we supposed to live as followers of Christ? What is the impact you have or should have as a Christian? What influences are behind your actions and thought process? What effect could we have if we were determined to live our redeemed lives as Paul lines out for us in Romans 12? This is our next step in finding out! I challenge you to:
The Romans 12 Experiment
Trial 1 (Romans 12:1-2)
As a fully developing or newly redeemed follower of Christ, we all face some of the same questions in our walk, some of the same questions from above. As a Pastor, I would ask myself the same. And what greater example of turning to Jesus and living above reproach, than Paul, who was considered a slave for Christ. Since his Road to Damascus, he was committed to sharing the gospel, and not just that, he wanted to help others to do the same. Now, if that’s not an example of what I want in my life and what you should want in yours, it’s time to have a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting! It’s the Great Commission you know, Matthew 28:18-20 says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I hope that through this challenge we can see, grow into and experience a closer relationship with God. And we could also become a wholly engaging body of Christ, live out an example and sharing our faith with those around us.
On to the verse:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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.”
Sure, you have read this or heard it before, but trying to read further into it, Paul is laying out a foundation here that tells us to commit ourselves, our bodies, to a life of service and then instructs us to think with a transformed mind, that this is necessary in determining the will of the Father. Even though these sentence are two, the thought is one. That you can’t have action without faith, and you can’t have faith without action, but they work hand in hand. That one should in turn inspire the other. Does your faith inspire action in your life or vice-versa? It does say that this is ‘your spiritual worship’. The offering of yourself, motivated by His ‘mercies’, can ensure that they would be acceptable in His eyes, a true ‘living sacrifice’. This is our goal, our aim! We no longer sacrifice animals as a means to worship God, but instead, we offer our lives, with His intentions, serving others and not ourselves, as this true sacrifice. And YES, you can do it!
Paul teaches that we should be distinguished by grace and our faith. He uses words like ‘appeal’ here, because we should be driven by grace, not by command. We shouldn’t offer servanthood out of obligation, but rather out of a response to the grace shown to us. When we ‘present’ ourselves, it is a permanent commitment to Him. Much like a vow in marriage, our presentation is a commitment that is a work in progress. So, like a marriage, it must be nourished, encouraged and fueled by knowledge and faith in Him each step of the way.
In verse 2, we are not presenting our bodies, but we are presenting our minds. We mostly look for God to lay out his plan for us in a way easiest and most convenient to us, in a dream, in a text, from someone else…. and then we get to choose whether to accept them or not. And even though these are ways God can talk to us, Paul shows here that there must be a devotion before we can expect instruction. God’s direction in our lives is in response to our transformation and commitment. If you think God is going to direct you while you are not committed to a renewal of your mind, think again!
Christians are transformed by the Word of God and are not conformed to this worlds thinking or actions. This commitment is a lasting exercise for all of us. It is a reconstitution of His Word and will in our faith and our actions. This month I challenge you to read these 2 verses daily or weekly, memorize them and let them speak to you. Let’s see what can happen in our lives, all of us!
Next month: Trial 2 (Romans 12:3-5)
I encourage you to add thoughts and comments below and join the discussion.
Thanks, Pastor Zack