We have all experienced it, someone walks up and ask us how we are doing, and our immediate response is, “I’m doing well, how are you?” We answer instantly without even thinking about the question. We have trained ourselves to have a natural response to certain things. Someone sticks their hand out for a hand shake, and we instantly stick ours out as well. A ball is thrown in our direction, and we instantly catch it or duck out of the way. Some things in life call for a particular response.
- Can you think of something we automatically respond to, with the same response every time?
- What do we do when someone gives us a gift?
In Romans 12:1-2 Paul, urges us to respond to God’s grace in a way that just makes sense. In a way that should be automatic. Let’s look at what God’s word says.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2 NKJV)
Paul is urging us to be a living sacrifice because of all of God’s great mercy. Being a living sacrifice means that we live our life for God in a way that is holy and acceptable to Him, and we don’t live for ourselves and our own enjoyment. Since God has saved us, we should be willing to live in a way that honors Him; we should be a living sacrifice. Being a living sacrifice should be as natural and automatic as saying thank you after you receive a gift. When we look at all God has done for us it only makes sense for us to live as a sacrifice to God. Paul tells us this is our “reasonable service.” It makes sense. It’s logical for us to live this way because of God’s rich mercy.
While living as a sacrifice to God should be our natural response, that is not always the case. We can only be a living sacrifice if we are not conformed to the world around us. Yet, we are surrounded by the world, making it is easy to become conformed, rather than being a living sacrifice. In fact, this can be a very natural thing for us to do, our automatic response. It takes an extra effort for us to be non-conformed to the world. We must transform ourselves. This takes us intentionally renewing our minds. Renewing our minds is the only way we can naturally respond as a transformed, living sacrifice. When our minds are renewed and we see God’s great mercy, we are transformed, no longer conformed to the world. We can begin to live as a living sacrifice, and it becomes the reasonable and natural thing for us to do. We must renew our minds by spending time in God’s Word so we can identify His good will. Spending time in God’s word and reflecting on the sacrifice of His Son will remind us of God’s mercy and encourage us to be the living sacrifice Paul urges us to be.
When we take time to spend in God’s word and renew our minds, we will be transformed. We will no longer be conformed to the world around us. It is then that being a living sacrifice becomes the natural response to God’s incredible mercy.
Discuss or think about the following:
How can we become conformed to the world?
How do we become transformed?
What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?
Do you think this is a reasonable thing to do considering God’s mercy?