Crispads

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Romans, Chapter 12

Yesterday we learned that we must graft ourselves to Christ so that we grow anew. It is a step away from the wildness of this world and a step toward being what God wants us to be. Today we see Paul begin chapter 12 of Romans with an exhortation of how much we are supposed to give to God. We are to give nothing short of everything we are, and that is my prayer every morning in my first waking moments.

"1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer 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." – Romans 12:1-2

My friends, this is the only way we can have a healthy relationship with God, and we must be prepared to do just this. God does not want just a small part of us while we hold back something for ourselves. What he wants is the whole thing, because then He can accomplish wonderful things with our lives. It is the least we can do after what Christ gave for all of us.

It truly is a transformation too, and not one to be taken lightly. It is a good transformation because God begins to change us into the beings that we were born to be. We begin to see the gifts He has given us and where we are called to serve in His kingdom. This is why I am up early every morning working on this blog. I feel that God has given me this gift to write it and called me to do it. I don't know why or for what purpose, but I know I am supposed to do it because it cultivates the Holy Spirit within me.

"6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his
faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." – Romans 12:6-8

How do we know what these gifts are? Is it s sudden, dramatic revelation or a slow realization over time? God does not do anything by accident. If you find that there is something mentioned here you truly enjoy doing then there is a good chance that it is a spiritual gift, and therefore you should pursue it with all your nature. When looking at what gifts you may have consider what role you are drawn to in the church.

All are asked to serve when it comes to the kingdom of Christ. There is no option and therefore there is more to church than sitting in a pew and listening. We each have a role to play and if we all do our part the message and ministry of Christ will explode and change the world.

"9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." – Romans 12:9-13

Sometimes it is hard to show this live, but again, it is what is asked of us. As we see later in the chapter, we are asked not to take revenge but to show unfailing love. That is hard. If you've been wronged it is difficult not to want to get back at them. It is in serving and pursuing the good that we truly learn. It's easy to hate, but to love even in the face of a wrong takes true grace. That is the kind of grace we are granted from sin and we must do our best to follow that example.

TODAY'S QUESTIONS:

  1. What does it truly mean to offer yourself as a living sacrifice?
  2. What do you feel are your spiritual gifts?
  3. What does wanting revenge do to our hearts?

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