Praying to be a Living Sacrifice

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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)

Photo by Sid Mosdell
Transformation and renewal, from chrsalis to butterfly. Photo by Sid Mosdell

I think we’re going to be in this chapter all week — I hope you already know it well and know it better by Saturday.  The trick may be to picture yourself sitting in a room full of people in ancient Rome, around 56 AD, hearing this great letter of Paul’s being read for the first time — and then deciding what to do with it.  Paul has been writing about theology and history for eleven chapters (as we have chopped it up) and then he gets down to practicalities with “Therefore I urge…”  God doesn’t just want our philosophical agreement, some of our money or some of our time.  God wants our bodies.  Everything we are.  Everywhere we go.  Every moment we are us.  Paul says God has a very different pattern for us to follow and it begins with a revolution in our way of thinking. The next 19 verses spell out how we change from the neck up.  This little paragraph of 70 words got me to move 1000 miles and radically re-purpose my life.  It was how I found God’s “pleasing and perfect will.”  I think that room full of Romans did too.  You interested?

Lord, forgive my endless series of partial commitments.  If you are the God I believe you are, you certainly deserve all of me.  What could be better for me than your will?  Amen.

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