Some of you may not have ever opened an instruction manual or even seen one. Today we Google the issue at hand and head straight for a video. Also, every parent holding their Child wonders where the manual is located. Yes, we can find a manual on any piece of equipment. Life is not a piece of equipment; it is so much different. Where can we find the answers to life?
Romans 12 is my life chapter. What does that mean, simply put, if I had to place the way I attempt to live my life into a few words it would be chapter 12 of Romans. I want to take this Blog and maybe one or two more and explain why I shape my life around these words. For me, it is as close to a life manual as I could find.
When putting this Website together I did some research into the process of Blogs and how they work best, sort of an instruction manual. I then needed to understand the basic foundation concerning the what and how behind my Blog. Reading God’s word as a manual for life works through the same process. To fully understand God’s Word, we need to know the what (truth) and the how (a relationship with God).
There are four simple questions that answer the meaning of life, how you answer them will determine how you live your life.
- How did humans get here?
- What went wrong?
- How is it resolved?
- What is my purpose in all of this?
Here are my personal answers to those questions; (1) God created us in His image, (2) Adam and Eve ate of the Forbidden Tree which brought Sin into the World, (3) Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection brought about the Gift of Grace, and (4) I am to reflect His love through the gifts and abilities He has granted me.
Romans 12: 1 The Message Bible
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
I normally use the ESV (English Standard Version) but I want to get this topic as basic as I can so I will be utilizing the Message Bible instead. This verse appears to quickly answer the purpose of life until we get to that one word, offering. Your first thought might take you back to sitting in church and they pass a plate for you to drop in a few dollars or some change. You may have gone to a church that had drop boxes on the walls or near the exit door where you can drop your offering. If this is how I understand the word, offering, then taking my every day, ordinary life and placing it before God may not require very much.
Let’s go back to verse 1 and read the first 8 words, “So here’s what I want you to do”. Paul did not include chapters and verses when he wrote this letter. It will assist us in our thought process to go back and understand why Paul is telling us to do something. The instruction book is sending us back to the previous step.
Romans 11: 33-36 The Message Bible
Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.
God is more than we can place into a simple box that we bring out from time to time. You see, God is not asking for just a few parts of our life as though we are helping Him with His favorite charity. NO! God is asking for all our walking around life. It means that we understand our plans are not what is best for us but His plans for us is all that we need in this life.
Romans 12: 2-3 The Message Bible
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
I was bullied often as a child, our family moved almost every school year and sometimes in the middle of a school year. I had a choice; do I accept the name they were placing on my life or do I understand the name that God is placing on my life. Their names would bring me down and keep me in a life of depression, unworthiness, and immaturity. God’s name: Christ follower, Friend, and Son. These are names that lift me up and instill maturity and growth. I am who I am today because of Jesus Christ, The Father, and the Holy Spirit. I owe Him my every day, ordinary life.
I tried my best to repay God for all He had done for me, that was a useless waste of time. There is nothing I can add to him that makes up for what he has given to me. I learned an extremely hard lesson and it took some time for me to understand. God just needs me to be who He created me to be. Period! It is not up to me to become more, and it is far to easy for me to be less. God has created me for a purpose; to reflect His love through the gifts and abilities he has already created within me.
More on our purpose next week but for today, take time to understand that God created you to reflect Him not Sin. But the challenge we face is still wanting life to go according to our plan. Allow God to be God and let Jesus love on you as the Holy Spirit directs you. That is how you grow and mature.