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|Posted on October 9, 2015 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
Romans 12 English Standard Version (ESV)
Romans 12:1 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. 2 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.
When we surrender our lives to the Lord, a living sacrifice is who and what we are. Everything that we do and we are can no longer be of any effect through self effort. Apart from Christ you can do nothing, and when you are saved you come to that stark reality. (John 15:5) What we are able to do and be is induced in us by the Lord’s empowerment. It is all solely dependent on our Lord. Not our accomplishments and awards, but Christ’s accomplishments in the garden, on the cross, and the resurrection reality. But the transforming of our minds is not a magic trick by the master magician. He uses His word, the Bible, to teach us His ways and His Holy Spirit enables us to discern His will as we read and are taught from His word.
Romans 12:3 Amplified Bible (AMP) For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.(read also verses 4-8)
Instead of being self-centered or individually minded, you are to be family minded, serving the body of Christ. As we grow in knowledge and wisdom, we are NOT to become puffed up, thinking of ourselves as “super saints.” We are to use what God has given us to help others. So, therefore, search out your path of blessing for the benefit of His body. If God has given you a gift, it is to be used for His purpose, not to your own advancement. We are to be occupied in His service.
Romans 12:9 (ESV) Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
This is Jesus’ prescription, through the pen of Paul, as to how we successfully navigate loving our neighbors. Don’t offer platitudes and flattery. The Christian should grow to the end of agape love (a benevolent, unconditional love). It’s better to be hot or cold than a mixture of expression. Despise wickedness; cling to all that is holy. Love one another with familial love. One-up each other when exalting the Lord and His ambassadors. Do not be lazy, but have tenacious perseverance in your devoted service to the Lord. Celebrate the promise we have in Him. Endure gracefully when faced with conflict whether internal or external. Be persistent in intimate communion with our Beloved. Give to those with needs abundantly, liberally. Be eager to share the "familyship" (Susan’s own word for the intimate fellowship we share as the body of Christ) experience with strangers.
Romans 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Bless your accusers and antagonists. Easy to say and hard to do, but when we continue to be kind to those who ridicule or even persecute us, they are sometimes drawn to the Lord. Go to www.persecution.com to read stories of Christians who have gone back to minister grace to the very people who nearly killed them because they proclaimed Christ.
Celebrate with those who have something to celebrate, and cry with those who are suffering. A part of “familyship” is sharing the bad times as well as the good. Don’t antagonize each other. Live in tandem, in synchronization - one active, interdependent unit. Do not be uppity, but associate with the less fortunate. Acknowledge that wisdom in no way is something a person can gain by self-effort. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Knowing that you are a mere grain of sand on life’s beach that the Spirit of God has breathed himself into should help you keep things in perspective. I am reminded of a conversation Corrie ten Boom had with an officer in a Nazi prison camp:
"Your other activities, Miss ten Boom. What would you like to tell me about them?"
"Other activities? Oh, you mean- you want to know about my church for mentally retarded people!" and I plunged into an eager account of my efforts at preaching to the feeble-minded.
The lieutenant's eyebrows rose higher and higher. "What a waste of time and energy!" he exploded at last. "If you want converts, surely one normal person is worth all the half-wits in the world!"
I stared into the man's intelligent blue-gray eyes: true National-Socialist philosophy I thought, tulip bed or no. And then to my astonishment I heard my own voice saying boldy, "May I tell you the truth, Lieutentant Rahms?"
"This hearing, Miss ten Boom, is predicated on the assumpition that you will do me that honor."
"The truth , Sir," I said, swallowing, "is that God's viewpoint is sometimes different from ours- so different that we could not even guess at it unless He had given us a Book which tells us such things."
I knew it was madness to talk this way to a Nazi officer. But he said nothing so I plunged ahead. "In the Bible I learn that God values us not for our strength or our brains but simply because He has made us. Who knows, in His eyes a half-wit may be worth more than a watchmaker. Or- a lieutenant."
From The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
Don’t retaliate or answer nasty with nasty. Do what is righteous at your own temporary expense, being the portrait of a living sacrifice for the advancement of God’s kingdom. To the best of your ability, lift up your gift of self-control, exalting God for the impartation of this demonstration. Allow the Lord to infuse you with the mercy to live unfazed by the actions of the disagreeable. Don’t make your enemy your personal dartboard or target at the firing range. Wait on the Lord to execute judgment. He is the only One worthy and allowed to judge. When you meet the needs of your enemy, in effect, on God’s calendar, though you cannot see it, you are truly executing punishment that someday God will answer in a way that only He can and has a right to. If the extension of love you share to those who hurt and despitefully use you, brings awareness of their iniquity, it could in effect save their lives for eternity. So we have to ask God for the grace to be that messenger.
Other passages on a proper perspective of oneself:
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Galatians 6:3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself
APPLY THIS TO YOUR LIFE:
1. Worship the Lord by sacrificing your self-worth and allowing Him to transform your mind. You have been bought by the blood of the lamb which gives you Christ-worth.
2. Realize anything worthy in you is the result of the Lord’s power, not your own, and is to be used to build up the family of God.
3. Love your brothers and sisters in Christ, not in word only but in deeds.
4. Associate with those that society would deem “beneath you”.
5. “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
No matter how someone treats you, continue to live as you should.” (poem by Susie)