What does God ask us to offer?
Romans 12:1–2 shows it’s not just heart or soul or deepest self that God requires. God asks us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. This complements Matthew 6:19–21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
There is an obvious link between the ‘bodies’ of Romans 12:1 and the ‘treasures’ of Matthew 6:21. The link is in the physical realm of life.
“The spiritual act of worship”
In Paul’s instruction,the original text says literally, “your spiritual service of worship” or “your reasonable service.” Allowing God to nurture us into true servants of Christ and His body is a reasonable expectation. Those who can’t be bothered to offer “spiritual service of worship” or “reasonable service” simply haven’t grown up. God expects better of us.
What is the ‘pattern of this world’?
The pattern that this world imposes is the attitude of being served, not serving. Gone are the days when John F. Kennedy could make political hay saying, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!” The world is different today, and not just because of COVID–19. God expects us to resist conformity to the world, to be transformed with a new mind, by developing a servant attitude, as Christ modeled (Philippians 2:5–11).
This year ahead, 2021, can be a “breakout year,” when we exercise our maturity as Christians by finding a place to serve God and His Kingdom, giving it more than just the old college try.
The late Dr. Howard Hendricks was a famous, well–loved professor at Dallas Seminary. He wrote, “One of the wealthiest men in our community has the dubious distinction of having blown four children out of the saddle: one in prostitution, two in drugs, and the fourth one we’ve been looking for in every state of the union and 30–some different countries for the last 10 years. This man sat across my desk one day and said, ‘Hendricks, I put my money on a dead horse.’
“If I were to say to that man today, ‘Sir, I will guarantee to get your four children back if you’ll just cut off your right arm,’ he would say, ‘Give me the knife!’ He’s willing to make that drastic decision now, you see, but it’s too late!”
This blog is not just about raising our kids for God. It’s about our own personal relationship with Christ, and it’s about being servants in God’s Kingdom.
2021 is upon you. It offers many decision–making opportunities. Will you decide to grow as a Christian, as parent or grandparent, as a servant of Christ? It’s time to make up your mind.
E. Stanley Jones said, “If you don’t make up your mind, your unmade mind will unmake you.”