“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice; holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service; And be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Rom. 12:1-2.
Before we go any further with our “Older Women Teaching Younger Women” series I just wanted to address the important issues of our hearts as women.
In chapter 11, Paul was talking about how the Gentiles had been grafted into the olive tree due to the disobedience of the Jews. He continued on toward the end of the chapter by saying, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
So because of these things, Paul told the Romans, “I beg of you; therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you provide your bodies a living sacrifice.” In looking up this part of the verse I felt it would be important to find out what the actual meaning of it was. The word living is also used to mean a “lifetime”. Paul began by pleading with the Romans to make sure that they were willing to make this a lifetime effort of sacrifice. Remember that Christ died for us and the sacrifice He gave is far superior to any sacrifice we could ever give even if it was a sacrifice for eternity.
He continues on by sharing how we can present our bodies in this lifetime as a sacrifice. The first part of the equation is that we are to be holy. We are to make sure that we are pure, morally blameless, consecrated. This means that even if we are called ‘prudes’ because we don’t watch the filthy programs on tv or read the dirty books then that is what must be done. On the other hand, let’s examine how it affects the heart. Before a person ever picks up the dirty books to read them or watches the filthy programs something has happened within the heart. That person has been thinking and meditating on things they shouldn’t be. It’s easy to get caught up within the mind and heart on those things that are contrary to the Word of God. We are to guard our hearts with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life. There’s a little chorus that I’ve been teaching my youngest called “Oh, Be Careful!” It goes something like this:
Oh, be careful, little eyes, what you see!
Oh, be careful, little eyes, what you see!
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful, little eyes, what you see!
The other verses are , little ears, little mouth, little mind, little heart, little hands, and little feet. It is so important for us to remember that our heavenly Father is watching us and we need to keep our focus on Him in every area of life.
Paul goes on with “acceptable unto God.” This second part of how we need to present ourselves to God says much about how our Christian life should be run. How can our lives be ‘well-pleasing, fully agreeable, and accepted’ in God’s eyes? The only way for that to be done is through obedience to the Word of God!
Why should we do this? Because this is “our reasonable service.” This is rational (“logical”) ministration of God (i.e.) worship. 1 Cor. 6:20 tells us, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” There is a reason that our rational ministrations of God (or worship) should be done and this is because we belong to God. If you are a true believer then there should be that desire to worship God in HIS prescribed way with your total heart and in every area of life! (Here are some more verses that also give you understanding why we should be doing things God’s way! 1 Cor. 7:23; Rom. 6:13, 16, 19; Gal. 3:13; 1Pt. 1:18-19)
Verse two says, “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 will of God.”
We should not be fashioning ourselves according to this age or the way the world does things. There should be a metamorphosis or transformation by the renovation of our intellect (i.e. mind) and understanding. We are not changing due to our emotions or our experiences! These things are good but we cannot put our faith in these things since even these can trick us. No, our intellect and understanding should be looking at what the Bible says and we should be changing according to what the Word of God says.
This is so we can “prove” God’s will and how are we going to do that? We do this by testing, discerning, and examining. There are several other verses that use this word to encourage us to prove. In 2 Cor. 8:8, Paul wants to prove the sincerity of the love of the Corinthian church. In 2 Cor. 13:5, he tells the Corinthians to examine themselves whether they are in the faith and they need to prove their own selves. In Gal. 6:4, Paul tells the Galatians that every man should prove his own work. Paul speaks to the Thessalonians in 1 Thess. 5:21 to remind them to prove all things and hold fast that which is good. It is important for us to remember that everything that pertains to life and godliness is revealed in His word.
2 Pt. 1:2-12 states, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.”
So what are we going to prove? We will prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God! If it’s contrary to the Word of God then you’d better not do it, no matter how emphatically your feelings tell you that you have peace to do it! How gracious God is to do such a work in our lives and to transform us from a worldling to a child of God. He transformed us spiritually as well mentally and emotionally. Praise His holy name for all that He has done in and through us!