12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
There is so much in these two verses. One thing that struck me was how significant my mind is in this process of transformation from a life trying to please the world (generally unsuccessfully) to a life that does please God. It begins with the Spirit renewing my mind. Not only does this allow me to recognise God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will” but also to embrace it.
The difference between a normal, dead sacrifice and a living sacrifice is that the dead one has no choice. A living one can get up and wander off whenever it chooses. Making myself a living sacrifice involves a continual choice to give myself to God. My mind and my will are essential. The word that the NIV translates as “true and proper” is “logikos” (which comes into English as “logic”). It means both “genuine” and “true” but also “rational”. My mind is an active participant in this worship which is “holy and pleasing to God”.
In the following verses, Paul will spell out what this renewed mind and transformed life look like, and it begins with how we think about ourselves. The result of sound judgement is that I use faith (in God and what he is doing) to measure myself. My mind and my faith go hand in glove.
Jesus says the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Matthew 12:30) When I give myself to God, I choose with my mind as well as my heart and soul to give my whole self because I love him. The Spirit and I work in partnership to renew my thinking and transform my life to be a pleasing response to what Jesus did to rescue me.
Written by David Cornell