Romans 12, Walk as Christ Walked (1/3)
God’s Will For Your Life
The million dollar question for Christians is always “God, what do you want me to do for you?” We sit around asking this question over and over waiting for a specific time, date, and location to drop out of the sky. We think there’s some magic formula for God’s will for our lives, and are constantly trying to crack that formula.
What we don’t realize is that what God wants is actually very simple and very easy to figure out. Let’s explore what Paul wrote in his epistle (letter) to Rome.
A quick background on the epistle:
Paul penned Romans in the mid 50s AD. He had a strong desire to go to Rome and preach the gospel.
A quick outline of “God’s Message of Grace” Romans 1-11:
Romans 1-3: Man’s Problem
Romans 4-5: God’s Solution
Romans 6-8: God’s Provision
Romans 9-11: God’s Faithfulness
If you get a chance, read through Romans. Romans 8 and 12 stand out to me.
Romans 8 – Spiritual Gifts, talks about the body of Christ and how all things work together for good.
Romans 12 – Spirituality and God’s ultimate purpose for your life.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)
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.
This is one of the most important verses in all of the Bible. It may only be a few words long, but there is a great deal of message here.
Let’s break this verse up into 3 pieces and talk through it.
Piece 1 – “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices”
Because we’ve been told to do this by God.
This passage doesn’t point to how you enter into a saving relationship with God, but rather how, after knowing Him personally, we give God what he wants the most as our spiritual act of worship.
Let’s go back to Abraham and Isaac. You can find this story in Genesis 22. Abraham spent his life service God, but also had many things he let get in the way. At one point, God asked him to go somewhere, agreed, and told God to hang on for a few years. When we see him in Genesis 22, he’s all in, and immediately takes Isaac up to be sacrificed.
Isaac in this scenario can represent the idols in our lives that are holding us back from accepting God’s calling. Abraham prayed for a long time for a son. He even tried to take matters into his own hands with the handmade. He worshipped Isaac. You can’t worship anything else and God at the same time.
What are your idols?
Do you feel God’s calling to do something, but you have things in the way?
Piece 2 – “The mercy of God”
This is our up-front “reward” that motivates us.
Why should you surrender everything to God? Because of the mercy of God. We don’t surrender because we want to earn points. We surrender because of God’s mercy. God loves us so much that he gives us all of Him.
Are you surrendering yourself to Him for Him or you?
How can we focus more on the Mercy and less on self gratitude?
Piece 3 – “Your reasonable service”
This is the “why” we do this.
Some translations say “our spiritual act of worship”. The greek word for “service” (NKJV) is “latreia”. This means “service rendered for hire”. “Service of Worship” (newer NIV) translates to the same word. Therefore we can conclude from Paul’s original writing that service here is the service of worship. Being in service to God is not only our command, but is a form of worship.
God wants a relationship with you. He doesn’t want you to be religious. He wants to know you and love you, and you to know and love Him. He wants you to let your old self to die so your new self can grow.
John 12:24 (NKJV), Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
How are you worshiping God through service?
What are some other examples of service?
What does God want me to do?
Romans 8:27 has a lot to say about this –
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
Take note of “hearts” rather than “heart”. The greek word here is “kardia”. One of the definitions of this word is “denotes the center of all physical and spiritual life”. If you search both your physical heart and talk to the spiritual heart inside of you (Holy Spirit), you can get some answers.
It’s pretty simple from that perspective. God wants you to search your heart and find what you desire most. Not desires of this world, but what has God built you to do? For some it’s a desire to teach. Others have a desire to travel to far off places and spread the gospel through ministry and church planting. Some people want to service in various capacities in their Church and Communities. Others simply want to be a light and witness to people at their every day jobs.
The possibilities are endless when you think about God. Can having a desire to build buildings be a calling from God? Yes. Missionaries that plant Churches in some parts of the world also need to construct physical buildings to go along with them. A carpenter could easily use his trade to serve God.
Jesus was a carpenter by trade. Paul was a tentmaker.
What is in your heart?
What are you doing to answer your heart?
How do I prepare myself for service?
Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Let’s break this one up into 3 pieces as well:
Piece 1 – “Do not be conformed”
The world is an ever changing place. We’re told on a daily basis that something else is “good” and we should love it. These are not always things of God, but mostly things of the world. We have to read God’s word daily and distance ourselves from that which we’re warned about.
This doesn’t mean we should separate ourselves from the unsaved people of the world. We are instructed not to keep company with people inside of the Church who are preaching false doctrines. We are also instructed to talk to those who are lost and bring them the gospel. This doesn’t mean we have to be best buddies with them. It means we are to be in their life as a witness of the gospel bringing them the message of salvation.
What are some of the things that are against God’s word that the world tells us is ok?
What are you doing to “not be conformed”?
Piece 2 – “Be transformed”
We can be transformed by renewing our mind. Renewing our mind is easy. Read your Bible, read good Christian books. Watch good Christian programming on TV. Listen to good Christian programming on Podcasts and the Radio.
Paul warns us in Romans 1:28 that he will give us up to a debased mind. A debased mind is literally reprobate mind, or unprincipled. The greek word here is adokimos, which means “not standing the test, not approved”.
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God”.
Ephesians 6:10-20 is a good lesson on putting on the armor of God.
What are you doing to renew your mind?
What are some good books or messages you’ve seen lately?
Piece 3 – “Prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”
This piece can’t happen without the other 2 pieces. You have to study the word of God and teach what is in it.
What are you doing to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God?
God wants us to explore our hearts so that we can figure out what desires he’s laid before us. He wants us to shed our idols so we don’t have any distractions in going down our path. He wants us.
To make this journey possible, we must constantly fill our minds with things of God. The Bible, books, teachings, friends, fellowship, sermons, and so on.
So what does God want from you?
God wants you. He wants you to surrender. He wants all of the idols in your life out of the way so you can see down the path he has laid before you. His path will not always be easy, but it will give you a rewarding life that will fulfill your inner restlessness. This isn’t to say you’ll receive large sums of money from God. The Bible doesn’t say that. Our rewards are much bigger than any human currency.
Pastors often talk about how their job is very tough at times. They will often talk about the rewarding parts of their job. Making a difference in a sick person’s life by just being there at the hospital. Overwhelming happiness (Joy) when someone comes to know Christ. Things of that nature, not material things.
Romans 14:7 (NKJV), for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NKJV), Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said life would be tough. He said things were going to get worse and worse as the end times approach (Matthew 24). Our rewards are in Heaven. This is not our home. Surrender to God and follow the path he has put you on..
About this 3 part study –
I started reading “True Spirituality” by Chip Ingram a few weeks ago. This (so far) amazing book has opened my eyes a little bit wider on Romans 12. I was approached by one of my church’s elders to fill in for him teaching his Sunday school class. I put this together, as I had read Romans 12:1-2 over and over and finished that section of Chip’s book. When I was asked to fill in 3 additional weeks, I thought “Let’s make it all on Romans 12.”
That’s where we’re at today. This is part 1 of 3 that I’ve titled “Walk as Christ Walked”. I’ll release Part 2 on Monday (August 19, 2019), and Part 3 the following Monday (August 26, 2019) at 10 AM.
Leave a Comment