I’ll keep this one short today, but expect I’ll be coming back to this theme—and this passage—repeatedly….
A couple of weeks back we looked at the idea of laying down our thought lives—how to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Since I didn’t use that passage at the time—and it’s been my life passage since before I was a Christian—let’s go there now, and even use the King James version I first read it in:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
For a guy like myself who enjoys being in his head in the first place, that’s actually a pretty easy idea to fall in love with. (Although I would dare suggest that extroverts are in their heads every bit as much as introverts are—they just want the rest of us in there, too.) And it’s a good one for my non-conformist bent, too—in fact, when I first read this as an I-believe-in-God-but-I’ll be-anything-but-a-Christian 30 years ago, I immediately sat down and wrote an essay on the power of saying “no.” And there’s been even better reasons to love this verse in the quarter-century-plus since becoming a Christian.
But in practice, at least, I also enjoy forgetting that Romans 12:2 is immediately preceded by Romans 12:1 (emphasis mine):
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
In the weeks to come, we’ll explore this idea of being a living sacrifice more. But suffice to say for now: Nothing kills pride faster than having to sacrifice our outward selves.
And it comes back to this idea from a few weeks back: We can believe in our heads all we want, but until we believe to the point that we’re willing to lay our lives down first, all our head-belief adds up to less than nothing.
Stay tuned… because we all need to get better at this.