Called to sacrifice, non-Conformity and Transformation
In Romans 12:1 and 2, we are called to sacrifice, not to conform to the world and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. These are three different actions but closely intertwined to show us what it means for us to truly die and live for God.
The first call is to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, a moment by moment sacrifice of our total being, body, soul and mind, a whole-hearted surrender of our wills to the sovereign will of God, total self-denial and an intentional worshipping of God through our lives and service, or as The Message puts it – Take your everyday ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work and walking around life – and place it before God as an offering.
Next, we are asked not to conform to the world. The Message says “Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God”. We are not to follow a multitude to do evil. The fashion of the world is marked by promotion of self-seeking and self-satisfaction. seeking to have more; do more and be “successful”. We are called to be different, to live out kingdom values. We are to be content with such things as we have; to be caring, putting the needs of others before our own and have a life style that allows the beauty and light of Christ to be seen through us. Our purpose is to do the will of our Father, and let Him use our lives to His glory in the power of the Holy Spirit. The pull of the world is great, but the saving power of God is greater.
Third, we are called to be transformed by the renewing of our mind by the Holy Spirit. This transformation takes place from the inside out and is a continuous process. Conversion and sanctification are the means the Holy Spirit uses to bring about transformation through the renewal of our minds, body and soul. The Holy Spirit changes our thought life, cleansing our old patterns of thinking which were in conformity with the world and renewing them to conform to the Word of God, thus enabling us to have the same mind that is in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5).
As the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit continues, the old things in our life pass away and all things are becoming new; daily dying more and more to self and living more and more to righteousness. Our perspective changes from self-seeking to seeking to do the will of God and doing always those things that please Him. Transformation of our lives will take place as we allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our minds and reveal to us the will and purpose of God for our lives. Under submission to His guidance we will begin to discern what is of God and what is of the world.
How have our lived changed since our conversion. What are the old things that have passed away and what has become new? Do we conform to anything in the world that does not bring glory to God and says to the watching world that we are Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to carry on His transforming work in our lives?
Dear Heavenly Father, we come before you in humility and plead your grace to help us to offer you our lives as a daily sacrifice of all that is not of you or does not bring glory to you. May our lives be transformed and conformed to the life of Christ rather than to the transitory pleasures of this world. In your Name. Amen.