April 17 Devotional

Today is Cara’s birthday! It’s a weird birthday with us being stuck at home instead of going out and doing something, but we’re trying to celebrate nonetheless! So today we’ll be looking at Romans 12:1-2:
 
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. 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.
 
This passage is one of the foundations I use for the entire music team! The first 11 chapters of Romans are Paul expounding upon a rich treatise of theology that has served as great fodder for many debates in the church throughout the centuries! But then all that reach theology turns into robust theology at the end of chapter 11 where he says “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” After the doxology he turns into practicality. Now that we have this foundation of theology, what are we supposed to do with it? It begins with the exhortation and command to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. That bodies isn’t just referring to our flesh and bones, instead it’s talking about our whole being. Everything we are is meant to be submitted to the Lordship of Christ. But that’s not the only characteristic used here! We’re also called to be “holy and acceptable to God.” That means we’re not only a sacrifice, but we’re commanded to be holy, or perfect, just like our Father in heaven is perfect. And if we’re holy then we’re also going to be acceptable to God.
 
Then we turn to more ways we’re supposed to submit ourselves to God. We’re commanded to not be conformed to this world. That is: don’t just go along with the worldly sinful ways that we used to live in. We’re commanded to be different. As Paul has just said, we’re to by holy, which cannot be evil. So what is the alternative? We’re instead commanded to be transformed. So don’t CONform, be TRANSformed. What we’re being transformed into is the image of Jesus. As we saw yesterday, Jesus is the icon of God, and we’re to be icons (image bearers) of Jesus into the world. (The iconoclastic controversy really is applicable and fascinating!) This transformation begins in our minds. We must change the way we think in order to pursue holiness. This is where the spiritual disciplines come in to play. What is it you’re spending your time thinking about, meditating on, devoting time and energy to? This changed thinking will allow us to more faithfully and accurately determine what the will of God is. Unfortunately, we so often treat God’s will a bit like a magic 8 ball, where we HAVE to get the right answer to determine where we’ll go, and if we miss something we’re outside God’s will. Instead, following God’s will is pursuing holiness! If we’re pursuing God and being like Him, then we should live our lives! And by being obedient to Him, we will see that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. 
 
SONG:
Today’s song is ‘No One But You’ by Hillsong. I fun one to sing along to! You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.
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