12 Brothers and sisters, God has shown you his mercy. So I am asking you to offer up your bodies to him while you are still alive. Your bodies are a holy sacrifice that is pleasing to God. When you offer your bodies to God, you are worshiping him in the right way. 2 Don’t live the way this world lives. Let your way of thinking be completely changed. Then you will be able to test what God wants for you. And you will agree that what he wants is right. His plan is good and pleasing and perfect.
As a young Christian (quite awhile ago now!) these verses had a big impact on me. I committed them to memory and they have become foundational verses in my life as I’ve attempted to live out what it means to offer myself to God as a “living sacrifice” and not be “conformed to the pattern of this world”.
More recently I have been reading these verses in The Message version of the Bible, and it’s brought a fresh perspective to what had become quite familiar to me.
“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. 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.” (The Message)
The phrase “don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking” is quite challenging! Living life close to God is not like a calm pool where we can sit back and float. We live in a world that is like a current that flows away from God. If we are not actively seeking to draw closer to Him, we will get pulled in the opposite direction whether we are aware of it or not.
It’s a continual challenge to find fresh ways to look at God’s Word and to challenge my thinking. Lately I’ve found it very helpful to listen to preaching podcasts in the car on the way home from work – in particular Timothy Keller, who is a very inspiring and thought-provoking Bible teacher.
Can I encourage you today to join me in looking for new ways to read/hear God’s Word? …”Fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out”
Written by Shelly Witt