Verses to Remember:
1 ...present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Not only do our souls belong to God, but so do our bodies. Therefore, just as we surrender our soul to Him, let us also surrender our bodies with Him. With it, we should worship God. What does this mean? How do I do this? We could relate it to 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20 when it talks about avoiding sexual immorality. In verse 20 it says, "So glorify God in your body."We could also connect it to verse 19, that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should take care of them. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Proverbs 23 it says to not be among the drunkards or gluttons. "Presenting" our bodies could also represent how we literally present ourselves. In Jeremiah 4:3 it says, "What do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain, you beautify yourself. In 1 Timothy 2:9 it says, "...likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire." I think there are many aspects and ways to present our bodies as living sacrifices. Let's ask God how we can specifically honor God with our bodies.
2 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.
What does conformed mean? Conformed means to comply, to become similar to in nature or character, to accommodate... How about transformed? To change in nature or character, to change in form or appearance... Let us read the first part again with our definitions replacing the words. Do not comply, accommodate or become similar to this world, but be changed in your nature, character, appearance by the renewal of your mind. When we receive Christ He begins a transformation process- some are immediate, like receiving also the Holy Spirit, and some are progressive- like the renewal of our minds. There are some things that God makes known to us right away, there are some things that take time to learn. I will refer to the couple verses that talk about being fed with spiritual milk versus solid food. Our minds through spiritual maturity, may not be able to be fed with solid food, our minds may not be ready for it, which is why some are still being fed with spiritual milk. Things that have been revealed to you, may not have been revealed to your closest friend. God matures us and renews our minds at different paces. But regardless, God does renew our minds. He wants us not to blend in with the world, or do what it does, but do the things that God is teaching us. The closer we are to Jesus, the more our minds are renewed. Through this, we will be able to to know and understand God's direction for us. We will be able to understand the Scripture more clearly, therefore better understand what His will is. Craig Groeschel in his book, Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working, says, "If we follow Christ, we're not supposed to be like everyone else. The whole point of sanctification is to become more like him instead of who we are when left to our own devices and desires. So how do we discern the difference between a good choice and the best one?" Craig then quotes this verse- Romans 12:2.
3 ...not to think of himself more highly than he ought, but to think with sober judgment...
I think we can connect this verse to yesterday's study of Romans 11:17-24.
4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function.
And this one to 1 Corinthians 12, where it talks about spiritual gifts, and all being important and needed in in the church. Again I will stress the importance of this. NOT ALL OF US HAVE THE SAME GIFTS AND ABILITIES. Did you get that? Please do! I have been discouraged because I see someone else having "better" abilities and gifts than me. I wonder what's wrong with me that I don't feel called to work in children's ministry. But I do help with the worship band. Everyone has different gifts and callings. God wouldn't call everyone to serve in children's ministry- we'd have a 100:1 ratio! God wouldn't call everyone to the greeter ministry- there would be no one to greet! God wouldn't call everyone to lead worship- there would be no one to lead! Get my point? ALL parts of the body are crucial. Without one, the whole body suffers. Rejoice in that! We don't all have the same function, and we are all needed. God gifted you for His purpose, and when you serve in the way God has gifted you and called you, it will be fulfilling.
20 ...if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals on his head.
Love this text.
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.