Scripture reading for July 29th: Romans 12:1-21
Paul’s thoughts now turn to the practical aspects of living out what we truly believe, the truth in Jesus Christ! Chapters 12-16 are the practical application of the first eleven chapters. “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.” (Romans 12:1-3)
As Christians, our bodies are now the property of God to be used for His purposes and glory! We are not our own, we were bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus! We must offer our bodies willingly to God. They are not dead, but living sacrifices, ready for the Master’s use. This is an act of faith and it pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6) It is a spiritual act of worship, on par with singing, prayer, or tithing!
Practical offering of our bodies included using whatever gift we have received from God to serve others. (Romans 12:4-13) A short list of gifts and their benefits include prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and showing mercy. All members are to bless others with their gifts and they will find their own needs met.
We must also renew our minds by studying God’s word and allowing our thinking to be transformed from the world’s ways to God’s word. Spiritual worship includes the mind as well as the body. Transformation takes time and study. We must apply ourselves to this purpose.
Attitudes of our minds were also practically listed by Paul. We must learn to love each other and honor one another above ourselves. We must share with those in need and practice hospitality. Troubles will come but we must maintain our joy and hope. We must act righteously towards those who mistreat us, not react in a worldly manner. This included blessing our persecutors and associating with the lowly.
We must learn not to hold grudges or seek revenge. All vengeance belongs to God. We learn to bless our enemies and do good towards them. In doing so, we overcome evil with good! (Romans 12:19-21) What a joy to be a living sacrifice with a transformed mind!