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.
Joyce Meyer wrote a book called Battlefield of the Mind. Many times, that’s what I feel like my mind is- it is a battlefield- daily, moment by moment- there is a war raging inside my head.
Thoughts about holy, pure, eternal, loving, and kind things war against pride, selfishness, coveting, complaining-well, you get the picture.
Do you ever feel this way?
I was startled by my lack of discipline and awareness of my thought life. I realized that many times I don’t even try to combat negative or sinful thoughts when they worm their way in. Many times, in fact, I entertain them without even consciously being aware of how potentially damaging they could be.
I must be more disciplined. I have to attack these negative thoughts with God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit- our weapon against the lies and attacks of Satan.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
Honestly, I would be ashamed to share some of the thoughts that have come into my head- some of those which I have entertained.
I have felt a strong conviction from the Lord all day that I must continually seek Him and be in prayer concerning my thought life, for it is a powerful force that can be used to produce good fruit in my life or thwart every good thing that God might long to do in me and through me by keeping me distracted and chasing after the trappings of sin.
Let’s break down Romans 12:1-2 and look once more at these verses:
Therefore- looking back on all that we have learned about what God has done for us in Romans 1-11.
In view of God’s mercy– the lens with which we look at ourselves and others-God draws near to us- He makes it personal- knowing us inside and out- seeing all of our sin- the evil within us- and yet He sent His Son to pay the full price for it all.
Offer your bodies as living sacrifices– When we consider all that God has done for us- this should come naturally. Why would we withhold anything from God after He has loved us enough to send His Son to die for us?
which is your spiritual worship– Worship isn’t just about singing songs- it is about honoring God and glorifying him- surrendering ourselves under His Lordship. It is more than temporary thoughts- but rather a moment by moment acknowledgement of all that God has done.
Do not be conformed to the world-this world gives us promises, values, and priorities that are fundamentally opposed to the gospel- they do not consider God in the equation- but only glorify self.
But be transformed by the renewal of your mind-This is a passive verb- we do not do this work- it happens to us as we surrender ourselves to the Lord and meditate on His Word.
Consider- God calls us to renew our mind- therefore, not just our will which only involves action- but our mind which is the birthing point of potentially damaging/destructive forces in our lives.
That by testing we may be able to discern God’s will- not only about those major, life changing, super important decisions- but rather concerning every choice we make throughout the day. We have the potential to allow God to direct our thoughts- to surrender our mind to His influence- and allow Him to renew us and see clearly His Will for our life.
I pray that you may be challenged and inspired by these verses. The more time I spend studying God’s Word and praying- the more time I spend focused on our Holy and Merciful God- the more I find myself in awe that He loves me at all. That He even considers me- but He does so much more than that! What riches and blessings He has lavished upon us!
Dear friends- let us run into His presence without delay. Fall on our knees and humbly seek His renewal of our minds- that we may be free of the cycle of destructive disappointment that sin offers and instead discipline ourselves to set our mind day by day-minute by minute- to focus on our Savior. Let us consider what He has done for us- the debt He has paid, and in adoration and joy allow Him to transform our minds- all for His Glory!