“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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.” – Romans 12:1-2
I have been chewing on pieces of Romans 12 for the past couple months. The whole book has some amazing truths that could be the source of many months and years of meditation and motivation for living. In particular, I have recently been focusing my thoughts and prayers on these first two verses.
For so long I have tried to make my life blend in with the world. Even as a follower of Christ I have regretfully had the mindset that I need to be similar to the world in order to be relevant to non-believers. I would often say that God wants me “in the world, but not of the world”…(true), but somehow I interpreted that to mean that I was to be a moderate participant in the ways of the world while maintaining an eternal perspective and somehow through that lead people to Christ. Needless to say, that doesn’t work so well because I have nothing to offer the world from that position. I can live that life all on my own with no need for any help from a supernatural God and so can anyone else for that matter.
The truth is that God wants me to be vastly different from the world, because of His presence in me! How could I have the Spirit of God inside me and be remotely similar to someone that does not? He wants the world to see His glory through His people, and there is NO WAY that can appear similar to anything this world has to offer or even remotely ordinary by human standards. An omnipotent God whose very nature possesses unlimited power will not present himself in any unremarkable or ordinary manner. If I choose to appear ordinary by worldly standards, I am choosing to be filled by the spirit of the world instead of the Spirit of God, and that is completely absurd for someone that professes to know Christ!
Francis Chan wrote in his book Forgotten God, “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through. That if He doesn’t come through, I am screwed.” (p. 142) That is what I want! That is the embodiment of the Church of Acts! The scary thing is that I can ask God to make this real in my life, and I know that He will do it! I am convinced that He wants His Church to live like this. The even scarier thing is that my bride just posted the same exact excerpt from Chan’s book in her blog, and if we are both praying this, it is bound to happen!
I say it is scary, because all I really know is a worldly sense of safety and security. Sadly enough, I think that is all most Christians know because, again, we can control that. I believe that we have severely crippled ourselves! When I look at the lives of the Apostles I have no doubt that they were in the safest and securest place they could be from an eternal perspective; directly in the center of God’s will and living by the power of the Holy Spirit.