Applying Romans 12:1-2 by Mike Moore

     “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 ESV
     When the Missional Community Group that I am a part of decided to study Romans 12 on the next few “up”nights and that we were going to break it down into 3 sections, the first being only two verses, my initial reaction was this will start out fast. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is so much to learn about how we should live our lives in these first two verses. Our discussion was very good, and we could have gone on much longer than we did as there is a lot of practical application to be had.
     Paul starts out with “ I appeal to you therefore, brothers”. Paul knows that we have a choice here: are we going to follow this teaching or not? It’s only by God’s mercy that we are able to do this. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice is only possible in response to the mercies that God has shown us first. “Present your body” implies the soul and spirit goes with it. God wants us, not just our work. We can do lots of “stuff” for God without ever giving ourselves to Him.
     Do not be conformed to this world warns us that the world system, popular culture, is in rebellion against God. Being transformed by the renewing of our mind is the opposite of being conformed to the world. The battle between conforming and being transformed is within our minds. Christians must think differently.
     The hard part is how do we do this? How do we transform our minds? Too many of us live our lives based on our feelings or we are only concerned with what we are doing. The life based on feeling says, “ How do I feel about my job? Or my wife? Or my preacher? They miss the transforming power of God because they ignore the renewing of their mind. The life based on doing is concerned with living off a list of do’s and don’ts and also misses out on the transforming power of renewal because they ignore the renewing of their mind.
     In the renewing of our minds, we need to change the foundational questions we ask from “How do I feel?” and “What should I do?” to “What is true?” and “What does God’s word say?” By changing our thinking to align ourselves with what God wants to do with our lives we will be transformed from the inside out. As this happens, the “proof” will be seen by others on the outside.
     So how do we live out the will of God? According to Paul we don’t forget the incredible mercy that God has first shown us. In response to that, we decide to turn our entire self to Him. We resist thoughts and actions of this world and focus on God’s word and fellowship with Him. Then we will be in the will of God and our lives will prove what God states in His word is true and is the only way to live.