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. 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. Romans 12: 1-3 NIV
Several years ago there was a television show where the co-stars of the show took a somewhat ordinary, frumpy looking woman and transformed her into someone her family and friends barely recognized. The woman was given a professional haircut designed for her face shape and personality; expertly applied make-up; and stylish clothing that fit her body and personality type. By the end of the show the woman looked much more vibrant and attractive. On the outside, at least for that one day when her new look was revealed to her family and friends, she looked completely different. You could see a transformation right before your eyes.
Just to be clear, the transformation in the television show is not the kind of transformation described in Paul’s message. First, God asks us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and not to be conformed to the pattern of this world. He is not asking for just a different “look” but he is asking for us to change our whole way of thinking. We are not to imitate the world, but rather, we are to become more Christ-like. In order to be more Christ-like, we have to change our thought processes and patterns. Transformation must begin in the mind. This requires:
- Learning God’s will by reading God’s word and learning more about Him.
- Praying and talking with God about our lives and letting Him guide our decisions.
- Asking the Holy Spirit to fill us with the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- Determining the gifts God has given us individually and learning how to use them to accomplish His will.
- Serving and giving in God’s kingdom in the ways He leads us.
- Learning how to use our faith to direct all our actions.
Paul is urging us, in light of God’s everlasting mercy, to give ourselves to God. We are to give our whole self—our mind, our thoughts, our desires, our plans, our emotions, our abilities— and to use our body to help Him accomplish his good, pleasing and perfect will here on earth. We are to become living sacrifices. This is the true worship of God. At the end of the service each Sunday we are called to go and do the real worship and service, using our bodies to do God’s work here on earth.
We are not to be like this world, but instead, we are to be transformed. We are to become more and more Christ- like each day and every day. Each day is a gift, bringing us closer and closer to our “new look,” a living sacrifice, pleasing to God.
Are we becoming transformed? Are we using the time, talent and resources we have in ways that God would find pleasing? When God looks into our heart, does He see someone completely different because of our faith? Would He see a real transformation? Are we vibrant Christians, using our talents to build up the Kingdom of God? Do we belong to a “community of believers” who are together ready to do His work as one body with many gifts?
Dear Heavenly Father, Let me be transformed to your likeness. Let me continue to learn more about You. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and let me be transformed. Forgive me for continuing my old habits and help me create new patterns of behavior. Let me see possibilities for using the gifts you have given me for your glory. Let me work with others in the faith to build up your kingdom. In the name of my holy and precious Savior, Jesus. Amen.
Written by Julie Johnson