“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual* act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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.” Romans 12:1-2
Paul is encouraging the Roman church to set their lives apart for God. Just as a burnt offering is set apart and given completely to God, Paul is asking us to do the same—to set our lives apart for God. He says, “in view of God’s mercy.” Since God, in His mercy, has paid the necessary price of my ransom, saving me from the sure death of sin I should willingly give my life to God. Everything that makes me who I am is to be offered to God for Him to use in whatever way He chooses. I let go of my thoughts and ideas of who I am and what I should do and allow God’s will to be the only will that matters. I don’t do this grudgingly or because I have to but willingly in gratitude as an act of worship. I choose to take on God’s will and let go of my own will. My prayer becomes what John the Baptist said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Everything I do becomes an act of worship, an offering, given to God for His glory and honor.
Paul continues to encourage us by reminding us to leave behind the ways of the world and to keep our thoughts holy and set apart for God by renewing our mind. We do this through studying God’s word so that it becomes the foundation of our every thought. This is not our natural way—conforming to the sinful ways of the world is our nature. I have the right to continue to live according to my nature and, in fact, if I don’t do anything different that is how I will live. But, I have another choice, by the mercy of God, I can choose to surrender my self to God and take on His nature. This requires daily surrender, daily reminding myself who I am in God—I am set apart for God’s will, I am forgiven and free, paid for by the blood of Jesus. Not only that I am becoming the person God wants me to be through the renewing of my thoughts and beliefs about God and who I am in God.
It’s one of the many paradoxes of living the Christian life—through surrender I become greater than I could possibly be in my own nature.
Are you surrendering yourself to God as a living sacrifice? Are you conforming to the world or being transformed into the person God wants you to be?
May our Lord bless you and help you surrender to His will daily and reach your full potential according to God’s plan for your life.