In the world today, people are encouraged to conform to a specific standard established by people whose hearts serve another god. Unfortunately, the world’s ideals of beauty, morality, and lifestyle fall far short of the one true God’s expectations for His people. Not wanting to stand out from the crowd, many Christians fall prey to the temptation to simply blend in with the landscape, adopting the dress, mannerisms, and sometimes even the actions of the unbelievers they encounter every day. Though we are free to choose our own path, God’s command to be salt and light in the world is given for our protection and to enable us to be fit for His service. When we opt to conform to this world’s system, we dampen our efficacy for Christ. Why would the world seek Jesus when His followers look and act no differently than they do? Conforming to this world dims our light and hides the message we are called to carry to the people in our community.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul shares these words:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Though God has given us free will, we are not free from the consequences of our choices. When faced with a decision regarding our dress, lifestyle, or activities, we must remember that we are to present our bodies to God as a “living sacrifice.” To us, the word “sacrifice” is synonymous with something that is given at a high price; sometimes even requiring the lifeblood of the giver. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins when He shed His blood on Calvary to make a way for us to be reconciled unto God the Father. Yet, God does not demand an equal sacrifice from us. Though our sin is deserving of death, He has made a way for us by instead asking that we present our bodies as a “living sacrifice” for Him to use in His service. God doesn’t want us to die for Him; He wants us to live for Him. The commitment to maintaining a life that seeks holiness is all that He requires. Isn’t that “reasonable service” for the One who gave His life for all?
Still the pursuit of holiness is a tall order for sinful man. Thankfully, God doesn’t expect us to attain it; we are simply to pursue it.
Paul lays out a road map for presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice committed to the goal of holiness for our God in verse 2 when he says:
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
What is the formula for being a living sacrifice for Christ? It is in the choice to be different. All our Lord and Saviour asks is that instead of conforming to the standards favoured by this world that we instead choose to be transformed for Him. This one simple act propels us towards the holiness we so desperately seek.
Where is holiness found? By the renewing of our minds. By choosing to fill our hearts and thoughts with the Word of God daily. This intense focus on God, His Will, and His Word provides us with the skills we need to better understand our Lord’s plan for our lives. When we dare to be different, instead of focusing on fulfilling our own desires, we maintain dedication to God’s plan for our lives which includes acting as a beacon of light in a nation of darkness to guide lost souls to the One who can make them whole.
Just as Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice to atone for our sins, we are called to offer our own bodies as a living sacrifice unto our God. This one commitment is difficult for us as our sinful nature compels us to acknowledge our own wants and desires above all. We need the gentle reminder that yielding control of our thoughts, attitudes, and actions to a Holy God is only fitting tribute to the One who gave His life for us.
Are you willing to dare to be different? While the world preaches conformation, believers are called to transformation through the renewing of our thoughts through the Word of God.
Want to learn more about the transforming power Christ wants to bestow upon your life? For more information, contact us at Anchor Prison Ministries to learn more about the sacrifice Christ made for you and how this simple gift can transform your life.