Romans 12:1-3 – “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. 2 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.”  NKJV

I have often wondered and discussed with believers the idea of “Living Sacrifices,” and some of the thoughts I have heard amazed me.  I have heard from some well-meaning believers that this means intentional suffering.  They believe that suffering is God’s desire and that, somehow, suffering produces spirituality.  What I hear in those instances is almost the idea of flagellation.  They would never go that far, but they almost prayed for suffering and difficulty.

The Bible speaks of us as bricks or stones in God’s building and calls us living stones. The problem with living stones, as contrasted to natural stones, is that they have a mind, will, and emotion and sometimes don’t stay where they are inserted into the building.  Likewise, living sacrifices do not always stay on the altar and thereby do not remain sacrifices or that which is committed and dedicated to God.  A sacrifice in the natural does not get up and walk away from the altar. It dies there and remains there.

Paul’s plea for the believers to give themselves to God as living sacrifices makes it wonderfully clear that this is not simply an act of the individual’s will or self-discipline. It is by the mercies of God.  It is by God’s enablement, His grace, that we can do this.  It is an act of dedication and commitment but also a supernatural work. 

Paul further calls this a reasonable service, not an extraordinary act of piousness.  It is simply the expected and should be a normal and natural result of our commitment to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  The life that we commit is to be holy or set apart.  He is talking less about the natural body than the entire man but includes the natural body, which is a reason for us to take heed to our physical and spiritual person.

But he does not stop there. He identifies some results of our becoming Living Sacrifices to God that resonate powerfully in my spirit.  If our reasonable service is to be a Living Sacrifice to God and in that condition and position, we can experience and achieve the total objective identified by Paul.  He said, “And….”  That connector immediately shouts, “Here it comes!”  Read it with me, “And do not be conformed to this world….”  

That should be a top priority for every child of God that we come out from among them and separate ourselves unto God.  Not that we become isolationist and isolate and insulate ourselves from the world so that we have no contact and no impact on them.  We are not influenced and shaped by the world and worldview.  “…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….”  

That identifies the importance of the mind in salvation.  Remember the words of Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior – one who manipulates].”  As the NKJV renders it, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”   We are charged to ‘bring every thought captive to the Lord’ and ‘have the mind of Christ.’  The mind is a powerful and wonderful part of our makeup and is deeply involved in our salvation. As our minds are renewed or reprogrammed, we experience Transformation rather than Conformation. 

The apostle then makes a powerful declaration that this process enables us to discover,  demonstrate and experience the Will of God, which is good, acceptable, and perfect.  I won’t deal with the trifecta that is often taught in that portion of that scripture, only that as a Renewed Mind Transforms us, we can prove or establish then walk in the will of God.  That, in my view, is powerful and desirable. 

Would you not like to be able to prove or establish the Will of God in your life with such clarity and certainty that it is unquestioned?  Would you not want to experience a relationship with God where you are in a continual state of renewal and transformation, moving from glory to glory and revelation to revelation in Him?  How do you get there?  First, allow God’s Holy Spirit and Grace to place you on the altar as a Living Sacrifice and Stay There!  Then, begin renewing and reprograming our mind through the Word and Prayer.  This will Transform you and guard against your being Conformed to the world, and as you enter that state, you will discover the Will of God.

May God bless you as you step out in faith and commitment!

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