Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never repay evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12 NASB
At the group we joined from Church last night we were given the assignment of reading just Chapter 12 every day for the duration at least of this book we are going through. As you might have gathered, I tend to remove all the verse numbers.
I read my normal Bible time this morning then went on to just read Chapter 12 of Romans. An interesting thought and question came to mind.
If we did follow through with what Paul wrote in Chapter 12, we wouldn't really have time for the ways of the world to slip in. We wouldn't have time for the things that do nothing to show the world Jesus.
After all, isn't that the greatest thing we could ever be known for? I saw on Facebook a question by a Pastor of that very idea. What would we be known for in our lives?
Honestly, I will say my Christian life, from all outward appearances, started off on the right foot. Grew up in a home where going to Church was the normal thing to do. Being in Sunday School, being in the Services offered. If possible plug in and serve.
I say from all outward appearances because inside it was a great struggle.
Inside I had a different experience.
It was in the end of the 1980's when I made the crippling mistake of getting ahead of God all together. I had that kind of Christian experience whereas you find yourself comparing yourself to others who seemed to have had it all going on. They could memorize Scriptures like nobody's business. They could come up with Spiritual insights. I couldn't on both counts.
Yet at some level God kept me coming back. He attempted to show me some things He was preparing me to do. I got so excited, I forgot my place and got ahead of Him. I was in a no man's land. I confess those were some seriously dark years of my life.
It wasn't until around 7 or 8 years ago when I totally lost it after an evening service at a church we attended that things began turning around. The following Sunday evening it happened again. I am so glad for those two Services because it was then that my Spiritual life began to finally get in line with what God wanted, not what I wanted.
I read in Romans 12 of characteristics of a Christian. I know of other passages on setting your mind on things above. About songs, hymns and Spiritual songs. I Google a lot of passages because that too was an answer to my prayer about memorizing Scriptures. God told me to.
If we look at what the workmanship of Christ Jesus is through the Spirit in our lives, indeed its Romans 12. If we could but realize the importance of building character that is Christ in us, maybe we would let go of more of the world.
Our lives are not our own. We came to Christ or maybe you are considering coming to Christ...but the situation is the same. Jesus spilled His blood to cover our sins. He literally pushed us out of the way of the oncoming bullet to take it Himself.
We owe Him everything. We should be living out a life that says we are grateful.
We should be grateful. We shouldn't be billboards or poster children for the things of this world. We should not take a passionate heart and allow it to be used by the things of this world. We should not be taking that which God has given us and allowing it to consume our lives in wrong ways. If we lived grateful lives to Christ Jesus what would the Church really look like?
Jesus wrote specific letters to the Churches in the book of Revelation. One such letter was a rebuke...that they had forgotten their first love, Him.
We do so much in our lives that has nothing to do with Jesus that it's scary.
Self examination is a good thing if used properly. Paul also wrote of looking in the mirror. When you do, what do you see? Do you see a life living for Jesus or do you see someone who lives for themselves?
The characteristics of Jesus...I look at me and wonder if that's what people see something of. I wonder if it's what Jesus sees in me on any level.
As I wrote before I gave up many things because I finally understood them to be idols. I finally pursued daily Bible reading because I was convicted of the truth that I couldn't stand before Jesus and admit that I never read it. I was tasked by God to write these daily blogs. I am trying to live to be obedient to my calling in Christ Jesus.
When you look at your wardrobe, your music, your television and movie choices. Your internet viewing. Is Christ there? Or are you publicly and privately doing a life lived for yourself? Your interests, your wants, your desires?
If we indeed spent our time developing characteristics of Jesus in us, would there be time for anything else?
Think on that. Think about what you are showing the world. Because you ARE showing the world something.
They either see you or Christ in you.