“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Another holiday season has come and gone with today being the conclusion, at least by singer Andy Williams’ perspective, of “the most wonderful time of the year.” Following today’s festive parades, family gatherings, holiday meals and assorted college football bowl games, the Christmas decorations will eventually come down and be put away for another year. The Hallmark Channel, and the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Channel, will conclude its Countdown to Christmas holiday programming. I may even cease listening to Christmas music for a while but that is highly suspect. Just ask my family.
What of this New Year (2019) which is now here? What are your goals, dreams and aspirations? What trips do you plan on taking? What resolutions do you plan on making? What books of the Bible do you plan on reading and studying? What exercise routines do you plan on beginning? Sorry, I just had to include that one.
Here’s a challenge for all of us who are followers of Jesus Christ and God’s children by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Christ alone. The challenge is set forth in today’s text. It is the biblical response to the magnificent and gracious salvation the Apostle Paul wrote about in Romans 1:1-11:36.
The response is for each disciple of Jesus to be a living sacrifice. This is our response to the many mercies of God and involves our daily yielding to the Word and will of God in our minds, emotions and wills. It is a striving with all our being, and with God’s strength, to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16). This is our true, spiritual worship.
At the same time we are yielding, we are also not conforming to the fallen world’s system of rebelliousness against God and His Word. Rather, the Lord calls us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are renewed by the Word of God (Psalm 1). Our souls are sanctified by the Word of God (John 17:17). This is the only way to know God’s will which is good, acceptable and perfect.
When the last college football bowl game today is completed, when the last piece of holiday baking is eaten and the final number of friends and family members have left for their homes, let us remember what still needs to be done. No, I’m not talking about cleaning the kitchen before going to bed in preparation for tomorrow’s work day.
Let us remember that each new day of each New Year gives each believer in Christ another opportunity to bring Him glory. Let us resolve that this year we will consistently do just that by being a living sacrifice.
May truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!