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.”
This appeal is not a mere suggestion. It is an exhortation, a summons, an admonishment, a holy urging to all of us to do what this says we must do. And this isn’t just to the brothers, but to the sisters, too. Because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on that cross so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin and now walk in holiness, we are called to action.
Our lives are to be given over to Jesus Christ as living sacrifices to him. This means that we must not only be crucified with Christ in death to sin and be raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, in order to be born again, and to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, but we must die daily to sin and to self and surrender our lives to Christ to walk in obedience to him.
This means we lay our lives down to follow Jesus and his life. We give up all the things we ever dreamed of or hoped for in the flesh, and we willingly sacrifice our lives to Jesus Christ to live the kinds of lives he has for us to live in obedience to him, and according to his will and purpose for our lives, and in his power, strength, and wisdom, and for the glory of God.
Whatever big plans we had for our future are now put behind us, and we willingly choose to follow Jesus and his plans for our lives. He is now in first place and everything else in our lives falls under his authority. Now our desire is for him to do his will – to go wherever he sends us, and to do and to say whatever he commands, even if we are hated and rejected for it.
For our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, for Jesus bought us back for God with his blood shed for us on that cross so that we will now honor God with our lives. We are now his possession and he is now our Lord (Owner-Master). The ownership of our lives has been transferred from us to Jesus Christ, and now we are to follow him where he leads us.
And where he leads us is to living holy lives, separate (unlike, different) from the world and holy unto God, now becoming like Jesus in character. So sin is to no longer have mastery over our lives. Now we are to be slaves of God and of his righteousness. All sinful practices are now to be forsaken and we are to now walk in holiness and in purity of devotion to our Lord Jesus.
And this is our spiritual and reasonable and acceptable worship of God. Our worship is not just some emotional experience we go through in a song service. Our worship of God is the surrender of our lives to him in living holy unto God in the forsaking of our sins and in following our Lord in obedience to his commands. If this is not our worship, then we don’t worship God.
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 are we to give our lives over to the Lord as living sacrifices to be lived for his pleasure and according to his will, but we are not to have our lives being conformed to the ways of this sinful world, and the two go hand-in-hand. Our lives are not to be shaped by the world and its philosophies and attitudes and beliefs and traditions, but by God and by his word.
And the way that we keep from being influenced by the world is that we have to not be continuously taking into our minds the attitudes, thinking, and behaviors of the world. TV shows, movies, secular music, some games, the news media, YouTube and social media, and the like, if not monitored and controlled by a godly lifestyle, can lead us down the wrong paths.
Most of us have probably heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What we take into our minds and eyes and ears influences who we become and what we do and say and how we behave. If we take in a steady diet of stuff that is OPPOSITE of what is righteous, holy, morally pure, honest, decent and faithful to spouse and to God, this is what will influence our morals.
We can’t take in the stuff of the world for the purpose of entertainment and then expect to not be influenced by it or for it not to impact our thinking and behaving. And we can’t neglect the study of God’s word (in context), in prayer, and in obedience to what it teaches us Christians and then expect to live godly and holy lives pleasing unto God. The flesh will take over.
If our lives are going to be given over to the Lord as living sacrifices we must be willing to forsake and to throw out all that is going against us living holy and pure lives committed to walks of obedience to our Lord. We can’t have one foot in the world and the other in heaven at the same time. Jesus said if we love the world the love of the Father is not in us (1 John 2:15).
So, we need to have our minds renewed and refreshed of the Spirit of God to where our thinking and speaking and behaving are in line with holiness, godliness, righteousness, moral purity, honesty, and faithfulness, and are not part of this sinful world. And we need to be conformed to the ways of the Lord, instead, in thinking, speaking, and behaving, to the glory of God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.