Give Yourself to God
In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul emphasized a key statement: Give your body to God. More strongly, he is saying here to give your flesh and blood to God as a living sacrifice.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)
Why would he focus on your physical body if he was actually speaking of a spiritual reality?
In this Scripture, Paul addressed a common false teaching of the time: the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. This doctrine claimed that since God saved our souls, what happens to our physical bodies and what we do with our physical bodies doesn’t matter. While this teaching spread fast throughout the first-century church, it was a lie and Jesus even addressed this false teaching specifically in the book of Revelation. Paul warned the Church in this letter to watch out for these teachings, to stay holy, and continue to give their bodies to God.
Jesus is our Savior but He also is our Lord. It is essential for us to know Him as both. The word of God has the authority to set guidelines for our conduct because everything is ultimately His.
“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” (Psalm 24:1)
Paul showed the church in Rome that they belong to God. Many were being deceived into thinking that they could do whatever their flesh wanted because of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Paul is found here in this letter pleading with the church. “I beseech you…that you present your bodies”.
Give yourself to God!
Similar to what he spoke to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul also says
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”
He wasn’t just challenging their current sins but he was also challenging the way they think about these things. He’s saying it’s not just what you think, it’s how you think. It’s not just what you’re doing but how you’re processing that information. Romans 12:2 is a great verse to reflect on in response to this: “but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Our Worldview and Core Values
If we are going to allow God to change the way that we think, we must understand two important things: our worldview and our core values.
A worldview can be described like this: The lens by which we take in information.
Our core values are the framework by which we make decisions.
Every new piece of information we learn comes in through our worldview. Every action we make is determined by our core values. We can’t violate our core values or our worldview. In fact, we will instinctively act through our core values in decision-making and come to quick conclusions through our worldview.
What the apostle Paul referred to is more than simple behavior modification. It is a full change of heart. If we want to see a massive change in our lives, we can’t simply change our behavior; we have to experience a fundamental change in our core values. It will not be accomplished by an intellectual ascent. We won’t gain this heart change by knowing more, the change requires an encounter with the Holy Spirit: an encounter with the Spirit of Truth.
Today there are so many things in our culture that have influenced the body of Christ’s stance.
Here are a few examples:
The Eternal Judgment of God
Sexual Immorality in the Church
Parenting Issues of Discipline
Personal Finance and Tithing
What we believe about these things shows the foundation our worldview is built on. This is true because we’ll only have one of the two types of worldviews: a Biblical worldview or a Cultural worldview. It is always obvious which side of the fence someone is on.
A study was done by the cultural research center at Arizona State University. This study was led by George Barna to see what American Christians believed about the world.
Their research concluded that only 9% of Christians hold a biblical worldview.
The water is muddier than ever when it comes to worldviews. The time is now to be sure about what we believe and decide what side we’re on. The time is now to determine what our core values are. We need to not only know what to think but how we should think. We need to begin to look like the first-century church in all of our conduct! The time is now to begin to think rightly and allow God to transform us.
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