I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Romans 12: 1-2, The Amplified Bible)
As I have prayed about and pondered about and written in my journal about this new year, my heart’s cry has been, “Lord! I don’t want to miss anything You have for me! I want to be committed enough and organized enough and courageous enough to achieve every single assignment that You want me to fulfill as a part of my purpose this year.”
As I have continued to meditate on my life this morning, I have been reminded by the Holy Spirit of Romans 12: 1-2, which is nothing less than the roadmap for doing just that. If you read the end of verse 2, which I’ve presented in the Amplified version, you find the exact end results for which I am hoping and believing. I suspect you may have similar goals.
So that you may prove (for yourselves) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (in His plan and purpose for you).
As Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.” But how on earth to begin on such a lofty goal? How can you and I “be being transformed?” (That’s the actual verb tense.) Here’s how.
1. Make a sold-out, all-out commitment of yourself to God. Give Him your body, which is His temple, anyway. Surrender the sensual desires that lead you to abuse your body with too much food or drink or other chemicals. Give Him your head, complete with all your thoughts. (More about that in a moment.) Surrender your feet to go wherever He assigns. Submit your hands to operate like gloves on His Hands, becoming His instruments to touch others. Most of all, give Him your whole heart. Presenting your body a living sacrifice is a big deal.
2. Step away from the world’s priorities and values. (Note to me.) Turn off the incessant banter on various cable news channels about all the problems in the world and the foibles of this leader or that. That’s not the good food the head needs to be fed. Further, no matter how many see the latest trend as gospel or the number who choose to believe half-truths (lies), don’t. Don’t be conformed to this world’s way of thinking. No matter how popular the view or how prevalent the behavior, if it contradicts God’s Word, run!
3. Renew your mind! A measure of your mind renewal is the extent to which your automatic thoughts are aligned with what God says about you, your situation, and your future. Implant God’s Word daily into your spirit. Remind yourself of God’s Truth when old voices in your head condemn you. Pray that the Holy Spirit, at just the right time, will bring to the surface just the right spiritual principles and the scriptures you have sown into your mind and heart. Claim the New Covenant provision that His Spirit will write His laws on your heart.
When these three things happen repeatedly, progressively, and powerfully – a new you will definitely begin to emerge. You’ll walk in Him more confidently. You’ll make the right choices more consistently. And you won’t miss a beautiful thing God has for you!
God, I memorized this scripture in Romans long ago, but You have brought it to new life for me this morning. Thank You. I do surrender all that I am and have to you – in 2018 and beyond. Teach me, Lord. Guide me. Use me in Your service!