“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
I don’t know about you, but when I am expecting guests I put in extra effort to make sure my house is welcoming and acceptable for them, and lets not go there when they pop in unexpectedly! How much more so, to make feel welcome and to ensure that our accommodation we offer is suitable for His Majesty, our Lord and Savior and alternatively are we to feel the shame of our shabby and neglected and possibly dirty homes? Or do we just expect Him to come ‘as we are’? That He is just happy to be in our lives? I shudder at this thought, though our actions most often reveal this kind of attitude we have regarding the God whom we profess to believe in, love and honor. I’m afraid to say to our own shame, we expect from Him – everything, and put little to no expectation upon ourselves. We reason and say that He is God and we are His messes and it is His job to clean us up. Our relationship becomes extremely one-sided where God is there for us, to save and serve us and we just accept, receive and get. That all we need to give is our faith. We pray to Him – that shows our faith, and we ask of what we have need of and depend on Him because we can’t do anything on our own. We are told that we can’t do anything, right? But when we really look at this kind of faith we will see how it reduces God as a servant butler who is at our beck and call so serve us. We know nothing nor care to know, that life as Saints means it is no longer about us! But that we now begin our journey learning what it means to serve the Living God to regard His majesty and becoming holy as He is; 1 Peter 1:14-16. Instead, we have made God become one of us, our friend – ‘friend of sinners’ where He hangs out with us, down here. Reality is, God created us – for HIS pleasure and we need to go back to understand this to learn and unlearn much as we do. The picture in today’s churches are painted in such a way that it’s all about us. We are served. We are loved. We are saved. We are blessed. We deserve it, we are the Kings Kids! The gospel has been reduced into motivational speakers selling all the reasons why ‘choosing Christ’ is the best for us. We are sold all His benefits and then take our bill of goods and begin cashing in. Go into your local Christian book store and read all title headings of the best sellers, and it will become a bit more apparent. Tune in and listen to the sermons the mega churches are putting out to the masses, or to what the latest and greatest hotly sought after teachers, preacher and evangelists are speaking.
Paul’s admonishing is for us today in Romans 12:1 and even more so! God help us to understand your Holiness, majesty, justice, honor and glory! We are so far removed we need His intervention, to splash our faces with cold water to wake us up. As blood bought saints of God, it is imperative for us to understand our position and Paul reminds and implores us to remember what our function is which is to accommodate God and operate as Priests. It is well worth our time to read the Old Testament writings on the order, ministering and requirement of being priests so we may better grasp its meaning and significance for us today.
Paul further instructs us that as Temples of God, we are to no longer conform ourselves to the world which is always ‘about me’ but rather be transformed. We do not automatically get a transformation when turn from our sins to live for God, but we are given the means to be transformed. And this is the Word of God coming alive in us so we may take it to be our food, our drink and our washing. We seek it as our substance that sustains us. We must eat food, drink water and wash daily – to care for our physical bodies and when this is neglected it is quickly revealed in us- and so is the same when it comes to our spiritual bodies. Let us not think that that reading a daily devotional scripture and its commentary will suffice! We too easily pass the responsibility for our spiritual health to preachers and teachers to give to us regurgitated words, much like a mamma bird feeds her babes. This is good for a time, but it is to our own benefit that we study the word of God ourselves. And to the shame of many of us, who have been Christians for years and have not yet ventured out to read and know the scriptures in this way. Faith comes by hearing, hearing comes by applying our ear to the Word of God. We too often give ourselves approval based on our own head knowledge, emotions and what others say – with disastrous results. It is only by God’s Word can we truly see what is right. We MUST study ourselves approved – through the Word, as it is our mirror that we may look to see what is true that will reveal our own heart, God’s heart and His will for us.
This Word is liken to what a doctor gives his sickly patient in the form of a prescription. We are given the ultimate prescription that will give to us what we need to pass from death into new life – eternal, but will amount to nothing unless we apply it to our lives, daily.
When we walk in reverence as Temples for the living God, and put into practice the Word that will renew our mind our faith will become apparent because we will PROVE IT by our actions. This is where some operate a faith that is works driven and orientated. It is apart from the living relationship with God as He is not yet living in their Temples. It is like; go to church, check. Give my tithe and offering, check. Attend bible study, check. The deeds done are merits of themselves and have no interconnection with the Living God.
As God’s People, our actions will not just be something we do apart and separate, or because its something we must do. Where instead our actions will be inspired because we have aligned and submit ourselves to the Word. As we put to practice what we believe and in whom we believe according to the Word, we are transformed and in this we prove what is God’s will and what He accepts by our works. When we DO what the Word instructs we will produce what the bible references as ‘good works.’ We will be known by our works (deeds) and will be like light that shines to others. As we submit to God, He stirs in us so we would produce good works – its like a reciprocal chain that work one with another. God works in us and gives us a willingness to do it His way as we obey and do what the word instructs; Phil 2: 12-13. We become a people who look to and delight in keeping God’s commandments and they are not burdensome;
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:2-4.
This is a new year and the time of year where we think and consider and even make resolutions for change. I would pray this we set out to do what Paul so earnestly beseeches us today –
- We are Temples of the Living God and to begin living as such
- To embark like never before to be transformed by the renewing of our minds; so that our lives will show the change only God can do
And let us also remember that we are alive today because of God’s good pleasure and as we live FOR HIM we ourselves will only grow in His success and love where His peace and joy will be upon us! Amen.