Read This Week: Romans 12

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2 NIV

The biggest challenges we often face in life are internal. A lot of times, we fail to win the battles on the outside because we do not address the war going on inside our heads. We must understand that the mind can be our greatest strength and danger, and to find success on the journey, we must renew and change our thoughts.

In Romans 12, Paul brings us to a pivotal point in his letter. After 11 chapters of theological teaching, he begins a section of practical guidance. He shifts from instruction to exhortation. That is not to say that his earlier writings are not full of encouragement, it just means that he is now going to focus on various areas of daily living and the characteristics of a life of obedience to the gospel. He has outlined the purpose and will now speak on the functional power of living as a Christ-follower.

Interestingly enough, Paul begins this part talking about the importance of the mind and summarizes the entire chapter in the first two verses. He writes that we should offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. We should be holy, acceptable, and reasonable in our worship to Him. Verses 1-2a says:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.

The key to a life that is pleasing to God is to reject the way of thinking that is prevalent in the world and allow the Holy Spirit to renew, change, and formulate our minds. To break free from the patterns of thinking that are not set on truth and God’s word is to adopt a Christ-centered perspective. A renewed mindset leads to a new person. A person that sees life, family, work, relationships, and choices from a new vantage point.

Verses 3-21 practically lay out how the person with a new mind lives in the world. This person does not think more of themselves than they should. They are humble and sincere in their love and devotion to God and others. They are passionate about doing what is right, serving the Lord, and growing in their faith. They are joyful and express hope through their handling of difficult circumstances, practicing hospitality, and giving to those in need. A person with a renewed mind prays, is a blessing to people, and lives in harmony with those around them. They are not overcome by evil, but instead overcome evil with good.

Paul sets the tone for the rest of the book by connecting a new mind to a new life and future. He tells us that when our thoughts are changed and restored, it is then that we can know what the will of God is and live out what is pleasing to Him. When we see our lives and the world from a mind that has been changed by Christ, we will see God’s perfect intention for us and a path ahead that is good and worthy of Him.

12 Comments

  1. almaschmidt on August 27, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    God gave me a song this week from Romans 12 called “Rejoice”:

    Let’s rejoice, rejoice, rejoice in the Lord
    Sharing God’s joy with each other

    When going through difficult times
    We weep with those who weep
    Grieve with those who grieve
    It will help mend our hearts, mend our hearts
    So we can be filled with God’s love

    Let’s rejoice, rejoice, rejoice in the Lord
    Building our hearts, building our hearts
    Building our hearts in love, joy, and faith

    Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice! Amen.

    • Jason on August 31, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Once again, I appreciate your heart and the words God speaks through you, Alma. It is amazing and true that praise changes things in our lives. When we rejoice and focus on praising God, our problems, anxiety, and challenges seem less impactful or daunting than before.

      Your song reminds me of that truth and promise represented in Philippians 4:4-9:

      Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  2. Heidi on August 28, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Paul is a good father in the Lord! I see him teaching how to live as a Christian, a child of God. I see him teaching us how to use the gifts God has given us to become skilled, so we can become mature in the ways of the Lord. To learn every day how to become an awesome servant, a messenger for God. To minister to those who God puts in our life.

    I feel like God is saying through Romans 12, “I have given you special gifts to reach out, learn who you are as My child. You have a purpose here in this world to help others for Me, so desire to be really faithful, available and trainable. Be open and willing to serve and draw others to Me. It’s the best part of being in My family.”

    • Jason on August 31, 2020 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you for this post, Heidi. It is a blessing to be able to read God’s word and books like Romans to be informed of how God wants us to live and serve Him.

      I liked this line from your comment: You have a purpose here in this world to help others for God, so desire to be really faithful, available, and trainable. This stood out to me because it is so vital to be available AND trainable. Sometimes we make ourselves available to God but fail to be teachable when He speaks to us. This is key to a life that is a living sacrifice and that does the pleasing and perfect will of God.

      Thank you for using that language and poiningt out that important truth about our minds and spirits when we are walking with Christ and seeking to serve Him.

  3. Kathy on August 28, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    This is one of my most favorite chapters in Romans. Here is what God was saying to me, “I am calling you to make a choice about the way you live for Me. Presenting your bodies means that I want you, not just your work. I want you to give yourself to Me. As you present your body as a living sacrifice to Me, I make your life holy by burning away the impurities.

    You must resist the world system. The battleground is in your mind; you must think differently. You can’t base life lived on feelings. Your mind must be renewed. As you are transformed on the inside, the proof will be on the outside, and others will see My will in you. This transforming work comes from the Holy Spirit. Your saving faith is a gift from Me.

    My son Jesus Christ is your common ground. You are all one body in Christ. I choose to give you gifts; you are to use them in ministry. You are a giver and if you stop giving liberally, your resources will dry up. You should show mercy to others and be cheerful about it. Your affection for others should be genuine. You should have good manners. You serve Me by rejoicing in hope, not rejoicing in results. In tribulation have an active, steadfast endurance. Pursue people you don’t know with hospitality. It is love in action, not just feelings. My love should be extended to your enemies. Be considerate of others’ feelings rather than waiting for them to be considerate of your feelings. Love your enemies and treat well those who treat you badly. Leave the issue of vengeance to Me. Do good to your enemies and look for practical ways to help them. You can destroy your enemy by making him your friend.”

    What this said to me was if I fully offer myself to God and totally commit to Him, He will transform and lead me. He will use me to minister to others. If the way I live reflects Him, others will see Him in me.

    • Jason on August 31, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      There are so many good principles and wisdom in this post, Kathy. Thank you for sharing your heart on this important chapter not only in Romans but in the entire New Testament. I really liked how you laid out all the practical ways (just as Paul did in chapter 12) that the Holy Spirit helps us live with a renewed mind. These things, if implemented, can truly change every environment we find ourselves in from our homes to our workplaces to the world at large.

      I kept coming back to this line when reading your post: Presenting your bodies means that I want you, not just your work. I want you to give yourself to Me. This is an encapsulating statement to the Christian life. God wants our lives not our stuff or our efforts. The work and the acts of service take care of themselves when we live a life fully surrendered to Him. The cart should never go before the horse. Thank you for reminding us of this.

  4. Ken on August 29, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    It’s so sad to see so many that do not dedicate their lives to the Lord. There are so many benefits and you get way more than you give. A life filled with God, His help and His love, is way better than what a life immersed in the world has to offer. Try it, you may like it. I do and would never want to go back.

    • Jason on August 31, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      This is so true, Ken! Once we know and connect to the awesome and eternal benefits of walking with Christ and doing life with God, then it makes no plausible sense why we would not want to dedicate our lives to Him for the rest of our time on earth. The benefits and blessings far outweigh the sacrifice. I never want to go back to my old life either.

  5. Samuel on August 29, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    God was speaking to me this week about Romans 12 verse 5. He was saying to me, “As you come together with me and the family of God, remember you are not one but many. As you raise your hands to me, share that you are all part of Me.”

    What that means to me is that no matter where on this planet you go, there is always the family of God to accept you. Those who have the same love of Him in their hearts.

    • Jason on August 31, 2020 at 1:35 pm

      I really appreciate this post, Sam. I read it about 3 times and each time was more encouraging than the last. Having community in and experiencing the bond of the family of God is a powerful and beautiful gift that the Lord has given to us. As you said, it transcends time, space, distance, and circumstance. What an incredible blessing to belong to each other (v.5b).

  6. Jeri Centers on August 29, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    In Romans 12:18, God was saying to me, “It’s not always possible to live in peace with others. Sometimes it seems the more good you do, the more you are attacked by others. We should do everything possible to be at peace with others but it will not always come, because it also depends on other attitudes and responses.”

    What that means to me is that Jesus is peace. If we truly follow Him, then we will have peace as well. There is a peace that we can have and it is peace in our heart that no one can take away from us.

    • Jason on August 31, 2020 at 1:46 pm

      Jeri, this is one of the most practical and profound views on living at peace in life and with others when it is difficult. You summed up the spiritual, emotional, and psychological response to relational discord, challenging relationships, and personal attack in this one line: Jesus is peace. If we truly follow Him, then we will have peace as well.

      It is that simple yet that powerfully effective. No matter what we’re going through or who we’re dealing with or what strife has become us, we can have peace because Jesus is peace. No one can stop His eternal peace from invading our hearts and changing our outlook, perspective, and future. The attitudes, words, and behaviors of others do not dictate the level of peace we can and do experience in Christ.

      What a hopeful thought! Thank you for sharing.

Leave a Comment