Last Week we discussed Romans 12: 1-3, my Life Chapter for living in relationship with Jesus. I talked about taking your everyday walking around life and giving it to God as an offering. God is asking for everything, every single part of our lives. He wants to play a role in our ups, and downs. In our passions and disappointments, in our joy and our sadness, and He wants to play a role in our work, vacations, homes, families, and our everyday walking around life.
We have accepted His Grace, that overflowing unmerited Love, salvation has come, and your life will never be the same. So? What is going to be different? We still find ourselves living within the struggles of our mind. Our body still craves the things it should not crave. Our thoughts are still in turmoil, except we are pushing ourselves to do the right thing. Those acceptable works of kindness that we believe make us a better person, right?
Romans 7: 18-21 ESV
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
You really need to read this passage slowly and fully weigh the contrast between what Paul wants to do and the very thing he ends up doing. This is the Apostle Paul, who outside of Jesus we consider Paul to be the only human that understands how to walk with God. And, yet Paul is struggling with thoughts from the mind and the desires of his heart. We can see clearly that even Paul within his own ability cannot overcome this struggle. The only logical conclusion is that when we accept Christ, we allow Him to rule over our thought process. We need God’s Grace to allow us to become smaller and then allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be our compass that directs our path.
Romans 12: 2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We need to go back now to verse 2 of Romans 12, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind”. How? Verse 3 goes on to tell us, “not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think”. Paul is telling us to think well of ourselves but do not prioritize ourselves above Him or someone else. Since birth, our minds have been set on what we want, what is best for me, and to get it at any cost.
Romans 12: 4-8 ESV
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.
Transforming the mind begins with understanding that we are no longer in charge of our own life. We are now a part of a larger body that requires care and we have an important role in that care. But, is it the head, are we the one directing the steps and actions of this larger body?
Colossians 1: 18, 20, 21, 22 ESV
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
God is the head and we are a part of His body (or as the passage reads, the church). God has given us a gift, a passion, or a talent. But here is the thing, not every Christian has the same gift, passion, or talent. Yet, we serve the same God. The Holy Spirit, that we received at Salvation, guides us in our gifting. I have come to learn that my role or gifts, are Teaching and Leadership. There are many ways to find this out, I can send you to a website where you answer a few questions to reveal your gift and walk you through what it means for you, (https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/spiritual-gifts-survey/)
“According to the Grace given to us”, some may read the word Grace as the freedom to do what we want without consequences. This definition does not accurately explain the fullness of God’s Grace. I have heard it explained as “unmerited favor”, I used it myself earlier in this Blog, this is getting us closer to an understanding of true Grace. Let us dwell on one more explanation for a moment, “seeing beyond the current you, into the full potential of who you can be, and still accepting the current you”.
I started teaching God’s Word early in my life, I have not arrived and still find myself with much to learn. But as I look back at that young man, he has come a long way since then. It is God’s Grace that saw beyond who I was, allowing the flexibility for me to become who I am today. Back in verses 4-8 of Romans 12, Paul list a few gifts. The gifts are not the main point of the passage, it is the push behind each gift that Paul is punctuating. If teaching, then pray that you will teach as The Holy Spirit reveals. When I have had the opportunity to utilize the gift of leadership, I have found encouragement as a more productive tool than demanding my team to perform.
Here is a quick review of our foundational belief in walking with God.
- God created the Universe
- Sin happened in the Garden (Adam and Eve thought they could be like God)
- Jesus died on the Cross taking the punishment for our Sin, overcoming through His resurrection
- I find my purpose by allowing God to transform my mind to reflect the mind of Christ. Allowing Him to become the head so I can find my role in the body.
Next week we will discuss the motivation behind serving in the body. God’s Love.