Romans 12:1-2 have been two of my favorite Bible verses for many years. I seem to remember learning them very early in life and they have stuck with me since.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.”
These verses are really God calling us to godly living. The culture around Christians tries to persuade them to blend in with worldly principles and lifestyles.
Compromise and temptation to stray from Biblical living are all around. The pressure for someone desiring to live Christ-like has never been higher. How can a follower of Jesus overcome and be holy? By living Romans 12:1-2.
God desires Christians to surrender their lives to Him. Paul is begging and urging Christians to do this. He even calls it “presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice.”
The control of your life must not be in your hands or given to someone else. It must be presented fully to the Lordship of Jesus. The 11 chapters before these two verses describe salvation and victorious Christian living.
These two verses challenge Christians to surrender in light of all God has done and mentioned in the previous chapters of Romans. While we don’t have the right to control our own lives as Christians, we still have the choice. We must choose to surrender our minds, passions, will, emotions and actions to Him. We must put on the brake and yield to our own life and give Him control to the gas and let Him steer us in the right path.
A living sacrifice really means dying to ourselves. You can only die to yourself because Christ died for you. Because of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection He defeated the power of sin. That allows our dead spirit to be made alive by His Holy Spirit who now lives in us as Christians.
The Holy Spirit grants us life, leadership, empowerment, counsel and relationship with God to know and do His good will. This is how we become holy or “set apart for a special purpose.”
We are made holy at salvation but it is also a lifelong process of growing in Christ. Being set apart means living a Godly lifestyle. The basis of this lifestyle contains fundamentals like confession, repentance, forgiveness, and walking in truth and grace. This is how to have “proper worship.”
Verse two tells Christians not to be conformed to this world but to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are conformed to this world when we give into the false promises and principles this world says will fulfill us.
Becoming rich, striving after physical beauty, and seeking fame will leave us wanting every time. The world screams those are vital to success. The culture of this world should not shape our values and priorities. Christ should shape us and in turn we should influence this world for Him.
All of this happens as Jesus transforms you and renews your mind. Filling your mind with Scripture, meditating on holy things, practicing the presence of the Lord are all ways to become more like Christ and less like this world. Surrendering your life – all of it – is the key to Godly living and true purpose and blessing. Let God have complete control of your life. Don’t let your life be shaped by this world but shape this world with a life fully surrendered to Jesus.
Stephen Harrison is the lead pastor of Family Church at White Hall.
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