1 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. 2 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.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
Our greatest social pressure is conformity. We do not want to be made fun of, disliked, teased for being different, or taunted. In the first eleven chapters of Romans, Paul has been telling the people about God's tender mercies, His righteous judgment, the law, and being justified by faith.
He explains that our sins are forgiven through the atonement of Jesus Christ, that we have peace with God, and that we are dead to sin and alive to God. Now in these verses he appeals to us, by the great mercies of God that have been extended to us, that we are to be "a living sacrifice."
When we become believers in Christ we become God's children and our plans for life change. We begin to "work out what God works in." We now become the living sacrifice whose desires and actions have changed. Proverbs 23:26 says,"... give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways." This sacrifice is a living response to God for sending Jesus to be our Redeemer. We are "living" in contrast to the "dead" animals slain in the Old Testament.
Our desire is that we live holy and pleasing lives to God. WHY? It is our reasonable service to THE ONE who gave us new life. The Christian life does not stand still. It moves from the good to that which is better, and we do that by the renewing of our mind and by not being in love with the world.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux is quoted as saying, "As soon as you do not desire to become better, then you have ceased to be good." One of the reasons we read daily devotionals, along with our Bibles, is to help us renew our minds daily. There is no room in our lives to be "proud that we are holy."
This world has a strong hold on us, but we are encouraged not to be living like the world. To think as a Christian we have to get a new "mind set," one that is always on Christ Jesus. If our minds are foremost on Christ Jesus, we will be able to know what is good, acceptable, and pleasing to Him.
I am reminded of a song we sang as children and which our children now sing.
O be careful little eyes what you see.
O be careful little ears what you hear.
O be careful little hands what you do.
O be careful little feet where you go.
O be careful little mouth what you say.
For the Father up above is looking down in love…
[So let us be transformed, renewed in our minds, testing and discerning the will of God.]
Okay. So the last line was written by me.
- Think about one way you are convinced you have presented your body to be a living sacrifice to God.
- Ask God to show you an area in your life that you could work on to "look a little more like Him." It’s called becoming conformed.
- Thank God for the mercies He has extended to you during your life.
- How much control does the world have on your decisions and lifestyle?