By the Mercies of God

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.”

Is music a part of our worship of God? Certainly, it is! But is it the totality of our worship? Absolutely not! Can we worship God without music? Yes! Can we sing praise and worship songs and not be worshiping God at all? Absolutely! For, worship first begins in the heart.

So, what is worship? According to this passage of Scripture it is us presenting our bodies (our whole being) to God as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable (pleasing) to God. So, what is a sacrifice acceptable to God? It is an offering to the Lord as prescribed by him, offered on his terms.

And what does he require? That we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. That we no longer live according to the flesh, but that we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit. That we walk in obedience to his commands, and that we love one another.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20; Tit 2:11-14; Lu 10:27]

And what does it mean to be holy? It means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the image of Christ. It means we now have the mindset of God, not of the world, and our desire is for Jesus Christ, and not for the cravings of our sinful flesh.

So, if this is not a description of our lives, but we are still living for the flesh, doing what we want to do without regard for what God wants from us and for us, then we aren’t worshiping God even if we are singing praise and worship songs. For, he doesn’t want lip service. He wants our obedience.

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.”

As living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways (patterns, behaviors, thinking) of this sinful world. We should stand out as different. They should think us odd. For, we shouldn’t be doing all the same things that they do, or having the same conversations, or embracing the same humanistic philosophies.

We shouldn’t be playing all the same video games, or watching all the same movies, videos, or TV shows, or listening to all the same music. We should be choosing what we do based upon God’s Word and our relationship with Jesus Christ, and on God’s purpose for our lives in saving us from slavery to sin. For Jesus called us out of the world to be separate.

Our minds should not be set on the things of this world but on things that are from above. We shouldn’t be living according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, those who live according to the flesh have their minds on the things of the flesh, which ends in death, not life everlasting with God.

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:7-8).

So, we need our minds renewed of the Spirit of God, not just once but daily. Daily we die to sin and self and we put on Christ and his righteousness and we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. And we pray for him to change us, and we cooperate with him in his work of grace.

And we need to be those who are discerning of the will of God, and we need to be those who are walking in obedience in doing his will. This is not saying we will be perfect, but that we are not to be walking by the flesh but by the Spirit, and daily we are to be allowing God’s Spirit to change us and to conform us to Christ and to his likeness.

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.”

All this is because of God’s grace to us. We can’t do any of this on our own, in our own flesh. All this is the working of God’s Spirit in our lives as we humble ourselves and we allow God to work in changing our hearts and minds, and to make us more like Jesus.

So not one of us should think that we somehow attained something of eternal value on our own. We can’t. But that doesn’t mean we do nothing, and that God does it all. What it means is that we open up our hearts and lives to our Lord to let him change us and transform us and make us more like him and less like us.

So, we have no cause to brag that we did this, for we didn’t. If we are walking in holiness, praise God! If we are living according to his will and purpose, then all glory to God! And if we are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, then praise the name of Jesus! Hallelujah!

It is all because of God’s grace that we can even be saved and that we can have the hope of eternal life with God. But his grace trains us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his return (Tit 2:11-14; cf. Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

So, work for the Lord. Do what he says to do. Go where he sends you. Say what he commands you to say. But do so humbly, giving him all the glory and praise for what he has done for you, and for what he is presently doing in and through your life.

A Believer’s Prayer

An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.

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