What transformations have you seen lately?
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. 2 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.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I studied my degree at Christian Heritage College. At College we often talked and were taught about the power of transformation – “transforming people to transform their world” was one of the College’s values. Our class discussions stemmed from this particular chapter of the Bible – Romans 12. This passage shows us the depth and power of Gods transforming grace at work in our lives. It gives us many practical examples of how we are supposed to live our lives as a “living sacrifice” (Vs 1).
A “living sacrifice” is a bit of a weird term – being sacrificed tends to be more towards the dead side than alive. This reminds me about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for all people’s salvation – how he died but then rose again 3 days later. He is alive and living. He is the ultimate sacrifice. He is our living sacrifice. I think being a “living sacrifice” today means that we no longer “conform” to our sinful ways, to the ways of the world (Vs 2). Those who believe in Jesus have died to our sinfulness and now live a life of obedience and sacrifice to our Lord and Saviour. Sacrifice comes at a cost, and that cost is for us to lay down our lives for the sake of Christ. As Jesus calls us to do in Luke 9:23, “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.
We are transformed, not just simply like a caterpillar into a butterfly, but on a much more grander scale. It is the power of Gods’ grace at work within us that creates something absolutely beautiful. We were once dead in our sins, in our ugliness; yet God mercifully creates within us a new heart and a new life. We now show others that same grace, reflecting this beautiful transformation that more people can become a “living sacrifice” for our Lord – “Transforming people to transform their world”.
Head: What do you think being a “living sacrifice” means?
Heart: God is at work within our hearts. How have you seen God’s power at work in your life transforming you?
Hands: This passage is full of practical ways we can show God’s grace to others – read over Romans 12 and chose one thing to work on today to show God’s transforming work within you.
Prayer: Thankyou God for showing me your grace. Thank you for the way that you change my life – you have bought me from the depth of my sin into a new life with you. Help me to see the way you are shaping my heart and working within me to show others the same grace that you showed me. Help me to become a living sacrifice for your praise. I know that this is only through the work of the Holy Spirit alive in me. I pray all these things in your name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Bring us back
Ellen Wilcox- Creek Road Presbyterian Church- Carina