Romans 12:1 ESV
“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.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, our lives are to be surrendered to our Lord unequivocally. There is not to be “wiggle room” in our surrender. It doesn’t mean we are either perfect or that we are “out,” but it does mean that surrender is surrender. It is not meeting God halfway.
For, to surrender our lives to Jesus means that we relinquish control of our lives over to him. We submit to his Lordship (ownership, dominion) over our lives, and we yield our lives over to his will and purposes, holding nothing back. He is now Lord of our lives, and we obey him.
And, this means that Jesus owns us, we are no longer our own, for we were bought back for God with the price of Jesus’ blood shed for us on a cross. Therefore, we are to honor God with our lives – with our minds, emotions, speech, attitudes, eyes, ears, and our full bodies. They are all his!
Our lives are to be holy. And, holy means to be set apart for God and from the world. We are not to be like the world, because Jesus called us out of the world. We are to be like Jesus in all that we are and do and say and think. We are not to think, speak, see/hear and act like the world.
So, what does this mean for us in all practicality? It is kind of like that old cliché, “What would Jesus do?” If he wouldn’t do it, should we? If he would do it, shouldn’t we? Our lives are to be modeled after him.
That Scripture verse in Philippians 4:8 also gives us a good model to follow regarding the kinds of things we should be looking at, listening to, doing, speaking, and thinking.
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Now, I will clarify here that just because it is true doesn’t mean it is good. Something may be true that isn’t good for us to participate in. Thus, this is speaking about not being involved in lies, slander and the like, but for us to be truth tellers. We are not to get caught up in what is false.
When you think of “worship,” what comes to mind? Many people immediately go in their minds to what is called a “worship service” in a gathering called “church” where they sing Christian songs with a band playing and someone leading them in song. Is that worship?
I believe we can be worshiping God during such a service, but just because it is called “worship” doesn’t mean it is “worship.”
The definition Paul gave us of “worship” here, I believe, is consistent with the teachings on what constitutes true worship of God all throughout Scripture. And, it has to do with our surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, which involves us following our Lord in obedience to his commands.
Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”
He was quoting from Isaiah. The people had no true love of God. They did not honor the Lord with their lives. He wasn’t their Lord (owner-master). Their faith in God was not true faith. It was self-serving. There was no fear of the Lord in their lives. Their hearts were in the world, instead.
Sure, they went through the motions of “worship,” but they weren’t truly worshiping God because he really wasn’t their Lord. They were still following the lusts of their flesh, doing what they wanted to do, so their sacrifices and worship to God were in form only, not in truth.
Our acceptable (to God) worship of God is our surrender of our lives to him, as living sacrifices on his altar, holy and pleasing to him.
Romans 12:2 ESV
“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.”
In a way, this subject has already been covered in the discussion on the first verse, but we’ll continue to see what more we can glean from this.
In the section called “Holy,” we talked about the principles of holiness, which is separation from the world, not being conformed to the ways of the world. But we didn’t really get into the specifics of what that looks like.
If we are conformed to the ways, to the patterns of this world, we obey its ways, we agree with them, we follow and imitate them. And, we adapt our lives, our schedules, our time, our thinking, our attitudes and our passions and desires to the world – to the lust of the flesh, to the lust of the eyes and to the pride of life.
So, this means that when we wake in the morning, our minds will be on whatever we have planned for that day. Or, they will be focused on what we have planned for when we get off work (whatever that work may be). We may be looking forward to a picnic in a park, or a bike ride, or a movie, or a game, or sports, or our hobbies (if we have any).
Now, there is nothing wrong with any of these, at face value, but where does God fit in all of this? Do we even consider him in our daily plans? Do we even give thought to him when we awake, or throughout the day, or when we go to bed at night? Who do we obey? Who gets our loyalties and devotion? To what or to whom are our lives adapted, modeled after?
The question comes down to, “Who is our boss?” Are we our own boss? Or, is Jesus truly our Lord? Do we give our allegiance to the world or to Christ? Who gets our passion? Is Jesus being honored by how we live our lives? Or are we honoring the flesh of man? Do we live for the world or for Jesus?
And, we can’t answer these questions just with words. What answers these questions is how we live day in and day out, for actions speak louder than words. We will live what we genuinely believe. Jesus doesn’t want our lip service. He wants our hearts committed to him as our ONLY LORD.
When I Was Walking
An Original Work / January 16, 2020
When I was walking along the way,
My Lord was with me, and He did say,
“My child I’m with you. I hear you pray,
‘Oh, help me, Lord! Need You today!’”
He is my friend, near to the end.
Gently leads me. His servant be.
He helps me pray – knows what to say.
He’s all I need. On Him I feed.
When I am wond’ring of what to do,
He gently leads me to what is truth.
He is my helper. He strengthens me.
When I’m in want, supplies my need.
He comforts me with all His love.
Gives me His grace from heav’n above.
I heed His call to watch and pray,
To guard my heart throughout each day.
When He is calling to come to Him,
To let Him lead you, trust Him within,
How will you answer to Him today?
Will you say, “Yes, Lord, have your way”?
Do not neglect to let Him in,
Cleanse you from sin, made new within.
Leave all your sin, obey your Lord,
Trust in His Word – His mighty Sword.