Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all…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.
Dear God, putting chapters and verses to scripture was obviously a very helpful thing, but it can sometimes artificially separates things that the author intended to be together. This mornings “verse of the day” from Bible Gateway was Romans 12:1, but it starts with the word “therefore.” Well, that told me if I am going to understand everything Paul means in that verse then I better go back into chapter 11 to see what point he’s making.
In this case, Paul was talking about our need for reconciliation with you. The need we have for you to apply mercy to our disobedience. And the need our friends and neighbors have for you to do the same. Because we need this mercy, our part is to offer our bodies as living sacrifices as our true and proper worship.
But why? Why should I try to tap into this mercy? Why do I need you? For me, I’ve learned that the more I pursue myself the more unsettled I am. If I indulge my whims, lethargy, self gratification, selfishness, and agenda for my own glorification then my spirit is destroyed. I pray about this all of the time. I guess it’s the foundation of my belief in you, but when Paul talked about the fruit of the flesh vs. the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 he described what the fruit of my own flesh looks like:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
That’s who I am on my own. Why? Because Satan takes me there to destroy me. But when I offer my body as a living sacrifice to you in worship and offer the Holy Spirit good soil in my soul with which he can work I end up with different fruit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Father, help me to remember throughout my day to offer myself as a living sacrifice to you. Help me to really know what that looks like. Speak to me in different moments in your still small voice and guide me through everything I do. Do it for your glory and my peace.
In Jesus’s name I pray,