Genesis 42; Mark 12; Job 8; Romans 12: Proverbs 9
Remembering the words of yesterday- “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, for blessed are they who keep my ways. Heed instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts. For he who finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD.” –I come to Romans 12. What a list Paul provides for those of us who have obtained God’s mercy. Some pretty tall orders here beginning with presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice-living and holy- acceptable to God. Living and holy. I had never thought about the word “living” that is found here. Thinking about the Old Testament sacrifices and all of the blood and death that was involved-we offer something new- a living sacrifice-and we are a living sacrifice because the one who sacrificed Himself for us rose from the dead. In Mark 12:27 Jesus tells the Sadducees that God is the God of the living and not the dead.
So what does a living sacrifice do? Well, Paul leaves us no wiggle room here. First and foremost, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Transforming of our minds-that is what brought yesterday’s verses in Proverbs to mind-how do I transform my mind, how do I keep from being conformed to the world? By reading my Bible and meditating upon it, by prayer and supplication, by fellowship within a community of believers—and by doing what is laid out for me here in Romans 12.
And with this transformed mindset I will not think more highly of myself than I ought (certainly not the way of the world!); I will exercise the gifts that God has given me; I will love without hypocrisy, hate what is evil and cling to what is good.
I will be devoted to fellow believers because of the love that now dwells within me. I will be conscientious concerning the work I do and approach it with a passionate spirit in service to the Lord.
I will be able to rejoice in hope, persevere in tribulation, be devoted to prayer, contribute to the needs of fellow believers, and show hospitality.
I will be able to bless those who persecute me-bless and not curse (what a novel idea in this age of social media)-rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep-sounds a lot like compassion to me.
A transformed mind will not think too highly of oneself and give little regard to those that are lowly. When I think about the riches I have in Christ; when I think about my position as a child of the King; when I truly let that sink in—how I view those who do not possess this tremendous gift speaks highly of my understanding of the precious gift I have been given. You have probably heard this saying at some point: “But for the grace of God there go I.” I am no better than anyone else-I am just wrapped in the grace of God and His infinite mercies.
A transformed mind will not pay back evil with evil to anyone-no exceptions, no matter what the evil.
A transformed mind will “respect what is right in the sight of all men”-in an age where what is right is up for such debate, therefore I do not think this means that we respect what is deemed right by the masses-but rather we respect what we know to be right as people who have had our eyes opened to the truth of God both in private and in public. And this is the really tough one in my mind: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” All men do not want to live at peace with us-but as much as it is my power to do so I must at least attempt to live at peace with them. It is not always possible-but I have a responsibility to try.
A transformed mind will not take revenge-it is not sweet my friends and best left to God-but that is so counter to my mind when it is conformed to the world.
And finally, “’But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
I think there is enough there to keep me busy for the rest of my life!
Grace, peace, and mercy,