Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
These are my FAVORITE verses. I read them regularly when I’m speaking to women (just not this translation). Although I’ve heard these two verses most of my life, and feel as if I already have a great understanding of them, God always has something more. A deeper place of discovery for us, when it comes to His word. There are several phrases that seemed to be bolded in my mind as I read. This week, I want to tackle those with the hopes of gleaning some new treasures and truths from these familiar verses.
“Mercies of God” Would you agree that it is easier to consider and appreciate the endless mercies of God after we have done something wrong and need it? Something struck me this week as I reflected on these verses from Roman. Those mercies we only consider after the BIG sins are the same mercies God extends to us every single minute of every single day. Even when our hands aren’t doing something sinful, our minds are working or our mouths are moving. There is no doubt in my mind that God should have run out of “mercies” just on me, but God’s mercies are endless. Notice it doesn’t say His mercy, but by “His mercies”. Please know and trust that no matter what, He doesn’t ever run out of mercy to extend to each of us. This is a beautiful reminder for me this week of our loving Father and because He loves me and I love Him, Paul continues and tells us to
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice”. Thankfully, Jesus has done the hardest part for us. He died a criminal’s death on the cross with nails through His hands and feet. God only desires for us to use our personalities, gifts, talents, time, and love to share His great love with His other children (our family members in Christ). Your eyes to see someone in need and give, your mouth to share a conversation over lunch with a friend (or stranger), your smile to encourage someone who is broken with sadness, your intellect to reach the minds of those who surround you at work, your introverted or extroverted personality to shine His light. . . He has blessed us with the bodies (no matter how broken, saggy, dysfunctional, young or old) He will use them if we offer them up to Him.
“Don’t conform to this age” Wow! What a concept, right?! These five words haven’t lost any relevance since they were first scribed thousands of years ago. Now that my children are approaching middle and high school, I feel as if I am always reminding them of this. How do we teach ourselves and our children to savor and expect the uncomfortable? How do we instill in them the fact that, as Christians, we will never fit into this world? This isn’t our home, heaven is! Instead of changing how we look, act, feel, think and believe, to look like what is going on around us, Paul implores us “do not conform.” If we are fitting in with our culture then we are doing something seriously wrong in our walk with the Lord. Embracing the uncomfortable and ordinary will bring us to a point where we can “be transformed by the renewing of our minds.”
Transformed into what? Well, not an actual Transformer©, but similar. When we allow God’s mercies to save us, present ourselves to Him with open arms to serve and love, and look to Him for our direction, God will transform into something new. Our old heart, life, and mind will be transformed into new and beautiful offerings that will become eternal treasures that will never fade, rust or be lost.
It all sounds a little complicated, a bit difficult and even more challenging. However, it’s all about perspective. Now, I’ll let you in on my favorite translation of Romans 12:1-2. If you have followed me for a while or read any of my books, you will understand why these verses strike a fire in my heart. After all, aren’t we all just ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God? He is the one who turns my ordinary into the extraordinary. It’s never by any of my own doing. Just follow with an obedient and willing heart. Place your life before God and He will take care of everything else.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)