“”1 Therefore I urge you, brothers, on account of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.….”” Paul’s Letter to the Romans Chapter 12–Berean Study Bible
When I was a kid, I tried to absorb everything that I could get my hands on. Whether it was math or spelling, I would memorize as much as much as possible. I would read as many books as I was able to. When I started playing sports, I took the same approach, not because I knew this was how I would get better at baseball or soccer or basketball. But because that is how my brain worked. I played and practiced over and over, every day for hours. I remember my mom calling us to come eat but we were too busy being Oscar Robertson, Pele or Steve Garvey to notice her. There was a kid in our neighborhood who would come out once in a while to play with the regulars but he always wanted to be first in everything, yet he was unwilling to get better at whatever sport we were playing that week. He would ask us a ton of questions but he never took the application of practicing with us seriously. He ended up hating to play with us because most of the kids in our neighborhood got better and he did not. The same is true with some Christians.
Many Christians want a shortcut to better obedience and willingness to listen to Christ. They are constantly doing their best to learn as much as they can and go to this and that conference and to learn from such and such a pastor or listen to every podcast they can get their hands on. All these things are good, yet taken to an extreme, they are barriers to true personal growth. As creatures of habit, it is easier for us to get answers from others, this is the path to instant knowledge. But are we really learning or are we just mimicking others instead of truly learning what is pleasing and the perfect will of God?
What is the balance for better Christian living then? The Bible gives us the answers for a continued and fulfilling relationship through God’s guidance in our lives. All we have to do is be willing to learn and change.
If you notice what Paul writes for Christians to first do in verse 1 of chapter 12:
1. Present ourselves 100% to God for His will to be done (verse 12). Sometimes it’s so hard to give our whole selves to what God wants in our lives. We are stuck in the 60-40 thinking.
“If I give God 60% of my _________, then He will be satisfied with my sacrifice.” Or, “What if I still go to out with my non-Christian friends to ___________, and just hang out. I will not take part in any of their sins but what can it hurt to go?”
By taking a stand, we make ourselves living sacrifices. This is what God wants from us wholly(completely, entirely, absolutely) and acceptably(adequately, satisfactorily) s 100% from us. Is it hard, of course it is. If it wasn’t, then everyone would be getting A’s in heaven for their good behavior on earth!
I encourage you to become 100% committed to listening to what God wants in your life and like when we were kids, practice, practice, practice…until your instruction in His word becomes second nature… don’t be afraid to fail… just don’t be like that kid that quit and missed out on all the fun we had while grwoing up! Becasue one day, all the hard practice of abiding in God’s word will pay off. The things you struggle in now, will be like a lay up!