Doing better? Good. So let’s revisit Romans 12:2. I have to confess, as a guy who readily enjoys being in his head, it’s a pretty easy verse to fall in love with. (That said, I dare suggest that extroverts are in their heads every bit as much as us introverts are—they just want the rest of us in there, too.) Here’s the problem—and the solution: I forget all too easily that Romans 12:2 is preceded by 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” (emphasis mine).
We’ll explore the outward part of sacrifice more in the weeks to come, but suffice to say, nothing kills pride faster than having to sacrifice our outward selves. It’s probably very little coincidence that Romans 12:3 begins, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. . . .”
What does this sacrifice look like? Again, it starts on the inside. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17). Repentance is not just turning back. More importantly, it is starting over.
If change is only in our heads, it’s short-lived at best. However, when our hearts and spirits change, our bodies—and heads—follow. Our “sacrifice” becomes something we do joyfully instead of grudgingly. When we lay down our pride and become willing to change, our desire to put ourselves above others drops. Through humility, we put ourselves in the same boat as those we used to separate ourselves from—and because of that, we no longer desire to see that boat sink.
Lay It Down Today
Find a mirror, and take at least a couple minutes to look at it—or rather, at you. Don’t fix anything. Don’t primp. And don’t make faces. Just look. At you. Spend enough time looking that you’re no longer comfortable with what you see. Or go the other way: If you already hate looking at yourself, spend enough time that you’re able to see the person God created—the person behind what you see. Either way, take the time to see yourself differently—from God’s perspective.
Then, pray. Ask God to help you not to forget the person you are in his eyes. Ask him to give you the strength to lay down your pride and to live out the word he’s given you. Take some time tonight (or tomorrow night, if it’s already evening) to “reflect” on how God uses you in the next twenty-four hours. May God bless you as you live out his life today.