I love worship! It is my favorite thing about being in church! I love being with God’s people and singing to God and raising my hands to Him. In praise, in prayer, even in desperation sometimes. My soul finds healing when I worship! Paul takes worship a step further in the first verse of this chapter.
“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.” (Romans 12:1)
Paul is appealing to the Romans to give of themselves and he tells them that in the giving of themselves that it is an act of worship. Have you ever thought of it that way? I think I have but then I forget to continue to think that way. What I think Paul is saying here is that when we give ourselves fully to God, pursuing righteousness and holiness the best way we know how that is when we are presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice. That is when we are holy and acceptable. I think it also means doing the things God has called us to do. In other words, when we are trying our level best that we know how to live completely for God, that it is holy and acceptable and that God will see that as our spiritual worship. It’s not just about singing songs and/or lifting our hands. It is our day to day. Paul went on to say:
“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 12:2)
This is another favorite verse of mine and it is again so fitting and relevant for today’s times. There is a whole lot going on in the world today. Quite truthfully, I think it would be exhausting to even try to be conformed to the world today. You have a new and different belief and opinion on every street corner. That is one reason I think the renewal of our mind and the discernment of the will of God is so important for us. We must all get with God and see how He wants us to live and believe and how we can move forward with everything that is happening. How does He want me to stand in these strange times.
Verses 3 – 8 address the gifts of grace given to each of us. Paul is telling us not to think too highly of ourselves. He is telling us that everyone has a place and a role in this Christian body. Just like all the parts of your body have a job to do, the same with the body of Christ. We all have a job to do and the gifts we have to offer back to the body of Christ will differ according to the grace that is given to us. God will gift us each differently, but He will expect us to use those gifts accordingly.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)
Our love for others must be genuine. One thing I notice here is many times Paul may say to the Romans and to others in his letters, “I appeal to you”. In those cases it is almost like Paul is making a request but here he just tells them “let love be genuine”. There is no other option. We must love others with a brotherly love. But what about the person that is not living right or has been ugly or has persecuted you in some way or another?
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (Romans 12:14)
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
Paul has told us, we don’t just love those who are loveable or good to us, we also must love our enemies and those who persecute us. Make no mistake here if someone is evil to God’s children, then God will avenge His children. Our job is to love them. You’ve often heard “kill em with kindness”. That is what we are supposed to do. Leave the wrath and the vengeance to God and we love them. Sounds so simple right? I know it’s not. Believe me I know it’s not. Which is why I have to meet with Him daily to do my best to handle things in a way that will be holy and acceptable to Him.
Oh Lord, please help us to love others, even, especially the unloveable. Lord help us to overcome evil with good and to leave the vengeance up to You! I love you so dear Lord and I want to live in a way that is holy and acceptable to you!