Renew your mind and be transformed.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Don’t think that giving your bodies to God will result in the removal of things you love.
It’s just the opposite. I know I keep saying it but God’s ways are so much higher than our ways. And I thank Him for this. When we give ourselves to Him to transform, He will slowly remove things from our lives but we’ll find that they are things we may have once loved but we no longer do. He changes our tolerance for things so when we do give them up, it’s a good thing! He is so loving and good to us in all areas of our lives.
All we have to do is keep our eyes on Him.
In verse 1 above, Paul tells us that when we offer our bodies to God, it is our spiritual act of worship. When he tells us to offer our bodies to God, this includes the “use of our bodies” as well. Our talents and gifts. The work of our hands. The smile on our face. The hug in your arms. The love on your lips. Use your body to do good works for God.
Romans 12:2 is possibly my favorite verse. Above is the NLT version and below is the NIV version. I love both.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This one verse is packed with the secret to godly living.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world. Why? Because we do not belong to this world. Jesus tells us in John 17:14 that those who believe in Him are not of this world any more than He is of this world. We need to know this truth so it can help us in this world. In John 17, the very next verse is Jesus asking our Father to protect us from the evil one. Jesus and our Father love us so much they want us to be protected as we do Their work in this world. Let’s look at these two verses from John:
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
John 17:14-15 (NIV)
Still in verse 2 of Romans 12, Paul goes on to tell us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind to test and approve what God’s will is. How does God transform our minds? When we read and meditate on His Word, He transforms our minds. It’s that simple. Do not adopt the world’s ways and renew your mind in Christ Jesus.
This is Paul’s advice to us in verse 3: do not think you are better than you really are. Boom! This verse will bring each of us back to reality and humility quickly. The great Apostle Paul tells us to not get too big for our britches. I’d like to think this verse is where this saying came from but I don’t know if that is fact:-). We need to know our identity in Christ – not in ourselves! When we look within for who we are, we are going to overinflate or underinflate our worth.
When we look to Christ for who we are, we will know truth.
We each belong to the Body of Christ (aka “the Church”). We are many parts of one body and we all belong to each other. Jesus shows us fellowship in His ministry. One of the very first things He did in His earthly ministry was to surround Himself with fellow brothers and sisters. He knew that we are created for fellowship. We are not created for being loners. When we retreat within ourselves and don’t allow others in, we lose our focus. Others surrounding us helps us to stay the course.
Each of us in the Body has a gift and specific role. It is not like the world where 100 people may be doing the same job. In God’s Body, each member has a unique place and role. We do not compete with one another as in the world but rather we complement one another. Reading on in Romans 12, we see that God gives us different gifts for doing those things assigned to us well.
He not only calls us but He equips us for that call.
In the last two verses above, Paul outlines the seven gifts of ministry. These include:
- the ministry of prophesy;
- the ministry of serving others;
- the ministry of teaching;
- the ministry of encouraging others;
- the ministry of giving;
- the ministry of leadership; and,
- the ministry of showing kindness.
These ministry gifts are given to us to build up His Body. We need to understand that these ministry gifts come from God and we do not all have the same gifts. Embrace your gift and co-labor with God to be the best that you can be. Do not look to another person and compare yourself. Do not look to another and get jealous of their ministry. We all have a ministry calling. Yes, each one of us has a ministry calling all of our own. And my calling is going to be different than your calling.
This is God’s way.
This is how God uses us to reach out into the world to share His light with others. I can connect with someone using my gift that no one else can. And so can you. If we don’t use our ministry gift, that person may never know Jesus.
Stay in the Light and the Love always,