Monday, June 23, 2008

The Return of Veritas: Romans 12:1-2

It has been a very long two weeks for me. It has been a time period where I have questioned my very faith, and in doing so I have felt like nothing more than a petulant child. In an effort to be transparent, I have been struggling mightily lately with issues of depression, professional stagnation, personal loss, and feelings of uncertainty as several people close to me fight some serious medical issues. In this, I have drifted away from my source of strength in Christ. In this, I have been very angry with God. For a few days I even stepped away entirely, feeling like this entire situation that we call life we completely hopeless because we are powerless to change anything. I even questioned if God even existed.

Then there was yesterday. The pastor in my church recently, to my great surprise, announced that he was resigning from his position as lead pastor to follow another calling in ministry. While his situation in life is quite hectic at the moment as he figures out what that entails, I find myself somewhat envious of him because he has obviously been called to something greater. Yesterday he delivered one of his final sermons, and it was based almost solely on Romans 12:1-2.

This is the first time I have revisited a chapter since I started writing here, and it is also the first time I have focused on something so short. Still, these two verses were very powerful.

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 this 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

This is where I am forced to continue editorializing. I must testify as to the power of God, because I wasn't in the most receptive mood for this message. Even now, I am still filled with doubt because I feel so defeated by the world, but God has used this small passage to breakthrough to my heart. The crux of this message was, as mentioned in verse one, God's mercy. Without God's mercy, we are completely powerless. Everything that we have done, from our least, pales in the sight of God. Also, my pastor pointed out that our time on this small ball of rock, water, and air that we call earth, is a fleeting vapor in the vastness of creation. What we think is important means nothing. Therefore, the only thing we have, the only thing that gives our lives importance, is God's mercy.

From a skeptics perspective consider the following. If there is no God at all, no matter what God you believe in (Yahweh, Allah, Buddha, etc.), then what is the point of existence? Of the billions of people who have ever lived, and the billions currently living now, what is the point of their existence if they become dust in the end? Now say there is a God. Physically, this does not change anything for us because we still live our lives, die, and become dust. But with that God, the supreme Creator and ruler over everything, we are given meaning, purpose, and everlasting life with Him through His mercy. He does not need us, yet he sent His Son to live with us. His Son suffered and died on the cross so that we might find purpose in His mercy.

What then, do we owe God? How can we possibly offer Him anything less than our very lives? He is the reason we even have what little we are given in terms of time, physical stuff, and our place on this earth. If God doesn't exist, then it doesn't matter what we do anyway because there is no hope in the end. If God does exist, however, we cannot help but offer ourselves to him in this way. Then, and only then, can we be transformed into what He needs us to be. As I try and wrap my mind around that this morning I realize that even in my doubt, His message has served a purpose. These words have gotten me to think and write about His message in this regard.


  1. What does God's mercy mean to you?
  2. What role does grace play in this message?
  3. Where does our purpose come in this?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

AMEN! Amen and welcome back!

~a friend in FL