(The following is the June 29 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Romans 12 and pay close attention to verses 1-2.)
Christians are to be in the world but not of it. We exist by God’s design and for his glory.
Yet, sinful humanity continues to rebel against God, living contrary to his will and Word. This predicament demands a godly response from believers. Paul tells us what that requires: “Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (vv. 1-2).
We can’t change the world for God’s glory through our wisdom and strength. We won’t be effective ambassadors for Christ if we conform to the world and its sinful ways. It is no small task to present our bodies as living sacrifices. That is why Paul pleaded with the Romans to allow God to transform them from the inside out. Only God can renew our minds and change our thinking and heart’s desires to conform to his. When he does, we can “discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
We are surrounded by powerful, constant temptations to be liked and accepted by others. Who doesn’t want to be liked? Who doesn’t experience (and sometimes yield to) temptations to conform to the world’s behavior, thought, and language? Instead of becoming like our sinful culture, we must be counter-cultural and present ourselves as living sacrifices to God, holy and pleasing to him.
Jesus offered himself as a living sacrifice for us. He calls us to be living sacrifices for him.
How is your life a living sacrifice to God? How has Christ transformed you? In what ways do you struggle with the temptation to conform to this sinful world?