Romans 12

Have you ever heard the saying, “be a Romans 12 Christian”? I’ve heard the expression a lot lately and so have decided to study what it really means to be a Romans 12 Christian. Romans is one of my favorite books in the bible because it very clearly explains Christian conduct and well…I need that reminder a lot of times in my day to day activities. Whenever I’m faced with a situation that is uncomfortable or that I’m unsure of how to respond or when I’m feeling so pulled by my fleshly desires to be just that…flesh, instead of spirit. There are so many wonderful references in Paul’s letter to the church that I believe we all can lean on and use to anchor us in those swaying times. I would like to share what I’ve learned in  Romans 12 as part of the devotional for the next few months, verse by verse, in hopes to encourage you as we all walk this path together. Verse 1 perfectly aligns with Pastor George’s sermon yesterday, so I thought it fitting to start the week off on. God works and His works are ALWAYS good.

 

Romans 12:1

“So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to His service and pleasing to Him. This is the true worship that you should offer.”

 

When I read the phrase living sacrifice, I think continual, a symphony that never stops. It doesn’t say dead or dying sacrifice, it says living. As long as there is breath in my lungs and a beat in my heart, God calls me to offer my WHOLE life up as a sacrifice, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. Just as Pastor George said yesterday, everything that we do, say, even chose to listen to, watch or allow into our minds/thoughts and let roll off of our tongues becomes either pleasing or displeasing to God. His pleasure should be our first concern. The life in us as Christ followers comes from and through Him so the aroma of our lives should naturally be sweet as we allow it to filter through His holiness. It should not be stale like death for He is not death. The only death within us should be of our old selves and when we are in Christ that stench does not linger, it is covered by His purity, making us as Him. There is no exhaustion in sacrificing in this continual way because we are connected to the Source, a constant. It is only when we are not connected that we begin to emanate an unpleasant aroma and become weary in well doing.

 

Lastly, so many times I find myself wasting energy on trying to be a people pleaser, because honestly, that is often what is immediately comfortable. If those around me are happy or “fixed” (my pride tells me I need to fix those nearest to me) then things will be much better. Yikes! Danger zone. The Christian life isn’t about being happy and fixed. Quite the contrary. The Christian life is instead about being blessed and free. Infact, it’s often after our acceptance of Christ that we are first broken down to rid ourselves of what is not acceptable to Him. The pruning begins and often times hurts. We may question ourselves, “what did we just do?” “Why is this happening?” But, in keeping perspective and focus on eternal things, society’s “fixed” lifestyle does not constitute Godly worship. What a difference those words blessed and free make as opposed to happy and fixed. Sure, happy is a wonderful benefit/side effect of living a blessed and free life in Christ, but if happy is just an outward expression and is not true inward joy than my efforts of people pleasing really haven’t done much at all have they? And here’s the kicker…I am not the one where true joy comes from. I am not anyone’s source of TRUE joy. So when I read this verse, the first thing that stuck out to me was to be dedicated to HIS service and pleasing to HIM. When I’ve freed myself to please HIM first, then all other pleasantries will follow suite, leaving an aroma for others to navigate towards, people pleasing simply becomes soul winning. When we enter a new day knowing that it’s not us, but HIM that sets the standard for our day then we find that everything out of that  is true worship, pleasing to Him and joyful for us.

 

Blessings,

Leah Parkin

Nov 6th, 2017