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.”
A lot of people reading Ephesians and Romans focus on Paul’s words where he talks about how we are not saved by works but by God’s grace, through faith, which is a gift of God, not of works lest any of us should boast. True, we can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation (Eph 2:8-9).
But then many of them deny or they ignore all the other verses in Romans and Ephesians where he says that we will be judged by God according to our works and by whether or not we obey the Lord (Rom 2:6-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Rom 11:17-22; Eph 5:3-6).
Thus, this appeal is not a suggestion or a recommendation. We must give our lives to Jesus as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God because we will be judged by what we do and by how we live. If for ourselves, we will die. But if for the Lord, we will live eternally (Rom 2:6-11; Rom 6:1-23).
As followers of Jesus, our lives must be surrendered to the Lord, committed to following him in obedience to his commands and to following him wherever he leads us to do whatever it is he has for us to do. We must leave our lives of sin behind us and daily die to sin and self and live for Jesus.
Our bodies are to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, too, for we are not our own. We were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus, so we are to now honor God with our bodies. Thus, we are not to be engaged in any kind of moral impurity, for if this is what we practice, we will not have eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10).
Therefore, our spiritual worship of God is not about singing songs and raising hands in the air and/or dancing to the music in an emotional display during a worship service, although music is a big part of our worship. But our lives must be surrendered to the Lord and we must be living in moral purity for it to be true spiritual worship that is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.
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.”
Not only must our lives be surrendered to Jesus Christ to doing his will for our lives, living our lives in moral purity as slaves to righteousness and not as slaves to sin, but we must no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. We are not to adopt their philosophies, attitudes, and behaviors into our lives.
Thus, what we should be taking into our minds daily, by the choice of our will, should not be what the world is dishing out on a consistent basis, but it should be what comes from the Lord and from purity of devotion to him. It should be Scripture and Bible teaching (tested and true), and spiritual songs of true worship of God and not songs appealing to human flesh.
We should not be watching trashy TV shows or movies with filthy language, with immorality, lying, cheating, stealing, and adultery, which give glory to the flesh and to sin and which dishonor the Lord. And we shouldn’t be listening to music and lyrics which promote adultery, immorality, lust, rebellion, and the flesh, either.
For, it is true that what we take into our minds goes into our hearts and it comes out through our attitudes, our words, and our actions. And it doesn’t have to be something immoral, either. It could just be about self-indulgence and self-pleasure and playing games and reading novels and just wasting away one’s life with the things of this world.
We are to put those things away, and we are to have our minds transformed of the Spirit of God so that we learn to discern the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. We are not going to know God’s will, though, if we are filling our lives and our minds with the junk of this world.
Romans 12:3 ESV
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Pride is a major hindrance to giving our lives to the Lord as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. And pride stands in the way of us no longer being conformed to the ways of this sinful world, too. For, pride says “My do it!” Pride wants to be the one in control and will not yield to another.
Those who hold on to their pride hold on to control of their own lives, and thus they do not surrender their lives to Jesus Christ, and thus their lives are not holy and acceptable to God, for they are still living by the flesh to please the flesh.
Therefore, we must all let go of pride and have honest evaluations of ourselves. We must humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins, yield to the Holy Spirit’s control, then walk in the ways of the Lord in the strength and power of God’s Spirit now living within us.
And every time pride begins to roar its ugly head, we must squash it by the Spirit of God. We must put it to death, and humble ourselves, and let the Lord have supreme rule over our hearts and lives.
We must be willing to see ourselves through the lens of God’s eyes and not through our own. For our own can be faulty. We may be misguided. We might even be deceived. So, instead of stubbornly holding on to pride and going at it according to our own thinking, we need to let the Lord speak.
We need to inquire of the Lord as to what he has for our lives and not let ourselves determine our own steps. Since we were bought back for God with the blood of Christ, our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want. Now we belong to Christ, thus we are to follow him in his ways.
When in The Stillness
An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.