Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Transformed Living

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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 and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)
Paul encourages us to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, wholly devoted to Him. Not only our bodies, but our minds as well, that we may be renewed in our thinking and our lives transformed. It is a life lived according to the measure of faith He has given each one of us in Jesus Christ (Romans 12:3-8).

The rest of his letter to the Romans outlines what such a transformed life looks like; the rest of chapter 12 (vv. 9-21) is a series of brief exhortations that compose an elegant string of pearls.
  • Let love be without hypocrisy.
  • Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
  • Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.
  • Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
  • Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer.
  • Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
  • Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
  • Be of the same mind toward one another.
  • Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble.
  • Do not be wise in your own opinion.
  • Repay no one evil for evil.
  • Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
  • If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
  • Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It is important to understand that this is not a checklist of things by which we must transform our own selves or change our own thinking. Rather, it is the outworking of letting God renew our minds with His thoughts, and allowing that to transform us. In another place, Paul says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). It is the mind of Christ at work in us by the Holy Spirit. Our job is simply to let Him have His way in us.

As we yield ourselves, body and soul, to the Holy Spirit, He brings forth the life of Christ in us.