The Romans 12 Experiment

How are we supposed to live as followers of Christ? What is the impact you have or should have as a Christian? What influences are behind your actions and thought process? What effect could we have if we were determined to live our redeemed lives as Paul lines out for us in Romans 12? This is our next step in finding out! I challenge you to:

The Romans 12 Experiment
Trial 1 (Romans 12:1-2)

As a fully developing or newly redeemed follower of Christ, we all face some of the same questions in our walk, some of the same questions from above. As a Pastor, I would ask myself the same. And what greater example of turning to Jesus and living above reproach, than Paul, who was considered a slave for Christ. Since his Road to Damascus, he was committed to sharing the gospel, and not just that, he wanted to help others to do the same. Now, if that’s not an example of what I want in my life and what you should want in yours, it’s time to have a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting! It’s the Great Commission you know, Matthew 28:18-20 says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I hope that through this challenge we can see, grow into and experience a closer relationship with God. And we could also become a wholly engaging body of Christ, live out an example and sharing our faith with those around us.
On to the verse:

Romans 12:1-2
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.

Sure, you have read this or heard it before, but trying to read further into it, Paul is laying out a foundation here that tells us to commit ourselves, our bodies, to a life of service and then instructs us to think with a transformed mind, that this is necessary in determining the will of the Father. Even though these sentence are two, the thought is one. That you can’t have action without faith, and you can’t have faith without action, but they work hand in hand. That one should in turn inspire the other. Does your faith inspire action in your life or vice-versa? It does say that this is ‘your spiritual worship’. The offering of yourself, motivated by His ‘mercies’, can ensure that they would be acceptable in His eyes, a true ‘living sacrifice’. This is our goal, our aim! We no longer sacrifice animals as a means to worship God, but instead, we offer our lives, with His intentions, serving others and not ourselves, as this true sacrifice. And YES, you can do it!

Paul teaches that we should be distinguished by grace and our faith. He uses words like ‘appeal’ here, because we should be driven by grace, not by command. We shouldn’t offer servanthood out of obligation, but rather out of a response to the grace shown to us. When we ‘present’ ourselves, it is a permanent commitment to Him. Much like a vow in marriage, our presentation is a commitment that is a work in progress. So, like a marriage, it must be nourished, encouraged and fueled by knowledge and faith in Him each step of the way.

In verse 2, we are not presenting our bodies, but we are presenting our minds. We mostly look for God to lay out his plan for us in a way easiest and most convenient to us, in a dream, in a text, from someone else…. and then we get to choose whether to accept them or not. And even though these are ways God can talk to us, Paul shows here that there must be a devotion before we can expect instruction. God’s direction in our lives is in response to our transformation and commitment. If you think God is going to direct you while you are not committed to a renewal of your mind, think again!

Christians are transformed by the Word of God and are not conformed to this worlds thinking or actions. This commitment is a lasting exercise for all of us. It is a reconstitution of His Word and will in our faith and our actions. This month I challenge you to read these 2 verses daily or weekly, memorize them and let them speak to you. Let’s see what can happen in our lives, all of us!

Next month: Trial 2 (Romans 12:3-5)
I encourage you to add thoughts and comments below and join the discussion.
Thanks, Pastor Zack

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9 thoughts on “The Romans 12 Experiment

  1. Thank you for this blog, Zack. No matter what stage of growth a Christian is in at the moment, the renewal of their mind through the work of the Holy Spirit is the catalyst for changing their character. It bears noting that we do not possess the strength or wherewithal to do this on our own strength, but MUST daily access His power so that it does not become a system of living to keep rules, but instead a living relationship whereby we can become effective conduits of His love.

    1. Our relationship with God should be exactly that, a relationship! If we only live to keep rules, we don’t concentrate on the relationship as much, we allow bitterness to enter in at moments. But if we live in response to his mercy, we will live lives that glorify Him and serve others. We all need to pray daily and react through grace to allow the Holy Spirit to be that catalyst for change. Thanks, Denise

  2. I like knowing that my faith isn’t a magic potion to just make me a “good” person but that I have an active role in relationship with God. That by willingly offering up my life to God, He changes me…. It’s an amazing promise to us all that we have purpose in God’s will. If and when we are willing to worship. This is a great challenge, Zack. Looking fwd to what’s to come.

    1. If we could put our faith in a pill form, we could be millionaires! Unfortunately we can’t, and how boring would that journey be? No magic potions, no take two and call me in the mornings, just a raw, intimate relationship is what He desires. You know the whole ‘Be our God and we will be Your people’! It does require action on our part, and in this world of ‘get something for nothing’, I want to have purpose and show that I am moved to action by my faith, not settled by it!

  3. I think a big part of renewing your mind is being in control of your thought life. The mind is a very difficult thing to control. Whether it be negative thoughts, lustful thoughts, or any other type of thought that can lead you astray, it is important to take those thoughts captive as they pop into your mind. I have found over the years that if you don’t take them captive immediately, they will wreak havoc on every part of your life. Thoughts eventually turn into actions and actions speak louder than words.

    1. Agreed James! In James 1:14-15 it tells us: “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Because of the effects of uncontrolled thoughts, we could open up a whole world of hurt on ourselves and those around us. And you’re right, any type of thought, that is not pure, can fester. So, guard your hearts and minds, know your limits and seek Him in all things! God renew us!

  4. This is one of my favorite passages. Our minds are not instantly renewed just because we make Jesus our Lord. This is something we have to work at and control. It helps tremendously to protect our personal enviroment of whom we associate with and what we partake in on a daily basis. It sometimes sneaks up on us in the middle of a bad conversation at work or an idle thought that we entertain too long. But, we do have the strength to take those thoughts captive and compare them to what the Word tells us to meditate on. Thanks for a great blog.

    1. Absolutely, it is a process, and for some, it’s harder than others, but still a process none the less! And it is a continual process no matter where you are at in your walk. We all have the same capacity to be tripped up by a bad day at work, or a flat tire, or etc., but it gets easier to handle more and more situations when we allow that renewal to be part of our lifestyle, instead of a backup plan. And thank God for His gift that has allowed us power to claim victory over any situation that comes against us!

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