You know how you can read a passage of Scripture multiple times, and God can bring new insight to your mind when you read it again? I have posted about Romans 12:1-2 before, but recently I was reading it in a slightly larger context, through verse 8. This time, I believe God wanted to show me a deeper meaning to these words, to show how He looks at what we do with our lives as a potential act of worship.
If you’d like to read the whole passage: Romans 12:1-8
In verse 1, God urges us to offer our bodies (our physical lives) to God’s use:
- sacrificially – we often have to sacrifice our will to follow God’s
- holy – be willing to set ourselves apart for God’s use
- when we do this, God is pleased
- why? because God is merciful to us, we do it as a response of gratitude
It is not easy to do this, because we are naturally inclined to do what we want, and because we do not like giving up control, even to an all-knowing God. Sometimes, it’s hard because we may not know exactly what God’s will is in a given situation. But verses 2-3 show us how we can offer ourselves to God in this act of worship:
- Don’t just go along with the ways of the world/culture (v2).
- Transform how you think by renewing your mind with God’s Word (v2).
- Don’t be conceited, but be humble. Realize that whatever measure of faith (or gifts or talents) you have, comes from God (v3).
The passage then goes on to describe how each believer in Christ is to be a functioning member of the body of Christ. So I think one of the main ways God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices, to offer this kind of worship to God, is to use the gifts, time and talents that God has given us to support other Christians. Of course, God also wants us to serve those outside of the church. There are many passages of Scripture that teach about that. However, the focus in this passage is on serving fellow believers in a local church body.
It is important to keep some things in mind as we participate and contribute to the body of Christ in a local church.
- We should do the best we can with our gifts (v6-8).
- We should serve each other humbly, not comparing our contribution to that of others, because all tasks have to be done, and it is God who decides what each person should do, through the gifts He gives (v3,6).
- Serving others in humility is easier if we take the perspective that, as members of the body of Christ, we belong to each other (v4-5).
It is this sacrificial service to others, by allowing God to use us however He wants, that in itself is an act of worship, because we’re acknowledging God as Lord over our very lives.