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 12:2.
As Christians we are committed in various aspects of life: to our families, neighbours, employers, the church, our health, and in all things we do and say. But the Bible also teaches that the chief commitment of our lives is to God Himself. Ultimately, what our Father in Heaven will require of us is more than a contribution; it is a total commitment, a complete devotion, all that we are and all that we can be. This means that we must hold nothing back from Him because God holds nothing back from us – John 3:16.
Total commitment is not commitment to the Church and its activities. It is more specifically a commitment that is shown in our individual behavior, in our personal integrity, in our loyalty to home and family and community, as well as to the Church. Being totally committed to Christ, may apparently bring opposition and trouble to our life. Being totally committed to God may even cause us some trouble out of the very people that are supposed to be on our side.
Total commitment to God means that Jesus is our sole authority, our guiding light, and our unerring compass. Being committed to Christ means being fruitful; it means being a servant. Our axiom is simple and succinct: “For me to live is Christ” – Philippians 1:21.
Today we bring you Romans chapters 12 and 13, which urge us to live vibrant, practical and fruitful lives through our total commitment to God characterized by love and care for one another as well as loyalty to our nation.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ROMANS CHAPTERS 12 AND 13
- ROMANS 12:1 – Total Commitment Is Presenting Ourselves As A Living Sacrifice To God
Being a sacrifice is surrendering ourselves to the Lord. It is putting the Lord first in our life. It is making Him our priority. That is total commitment. That might mean giving up something precious to us in order to put the Lord first. Out of gratitude to God for His mercy and salvation, we should be completely devoted to loving Him, living by His standards and serving His purposes for our lives.
- Our goal should be to show God’s holiness (moral purity, spiritual wholeness, separation from evil and complete dedication to God) in all we do. This requires separation from the patterns and practices of the world so we can pursue a deeper relationship with God.
- We must offer our bodies to God as dead to sin and alive to God and as the temple of the Holy Spirit.
- We must realize that true godly worship involves a lifestyle that brings honour to Christ in words and actions. It is not necessarily a great sacrifice to voice our worship to God in a church service where people are gathered for that very purpose.
ROMANS 12:2 – a) Total Commitment Means Being Totally Transformed.
There is a very real pressure to conform “to the pattern” of this world and be squeezed into its likeness on many different levels. Christians must firmly resist the temptation to accept and imitate the world’s ways of thinking and behaving. Our refusal to conform to this world’s values, must go even deeper than just behavior and customs; it must be firmly planted in our mind.
The reason we must resist adopting the world’s way is because it is evil, it is under satan’s rule, it is hostile to God and His people and it is built on wisdom and values.
Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. This world’s kingdom is full of spiritual darkness, deception and seduction. Christ’s followers are called to be light in the midst of this darkness. Our lives should reflect a positive difference that those in the world cannot help but notice. This includes resisting the temptation to conform to the varied types of worldliness common in society, including greed, selfishness, humanistic thinking, a desire for power, envy, hate, revenge, filthy language, sexual lust and impurity, ungodly entertainment, fashions that are immodest and seductive, substance abuse, relationships that do not honour God and other such things that defy the standards of God’s Word.
Our minds must continually be renewed and transformed (changed) to God’s way of thinking. This can only happen as we spend time reading and meditating on His Word (pondering over and over what it means and how it applies to our lives). This will allow our visions, values, behaviours and plans to be directed by God’s eternal truth, rather than by the world’s temporary and deceptive pattern.
- b) Total Commitment Means Submitting To God’s Will.
By having a spiritually renewed mind and transformed life through a growing relationship with Christ, we are able to discern and follow God’s will – His desires, plans and intentions based on His character and purposes. This is His highest best way of life for us (though not necessarily the easiest). Some mistakenly regard the references to “good, pleasing and perfect” as three levels of God’s will, but this is really a single description of God’s ultimate purposes. God’s will is “good” because it leads to a Christian’s spiritual and moral growth. It is “pleasing” to God because it serves His purposes, even though we may not always understand it. It is “perfect” because we cannot improve on God’s will; it is absolutely what is best for us in relation to fulfilling His purposes.
ROMANS 12:6 – Total Commitment Means Requiring Different Gifts, According To The Grace.
The gifts if grace are God-given inclinations or desires, as well as special enablement’s or abilities. The Holy Spirit equips us with these gifts so that He can use them to build up God’s love to others. Every Christian has at least one such gift. However, one’s primary gift does not mean that he or she cannot exercise other gifts as needed. We need to use our gifts to serve Him and others.
ROMANS 12:8 – a) Total Commitment Means Serving…Teaching.
“Serving” is the God-given desire, ability and power to lend practical assistance to members and leaders of the church to help them better develop their gifts and fulfill their responsibilities to God.
“Teaching” is the God-given desire, ability and power to examine and study God’s Word and to help others better understand and apply it. Teaching involves defending and proclaiming the truth of God’s Word in such a way that others grow spiritually and develop godly character.
- b) Total Commitment Means Encouraging…Contributing…Leadership…Showing Mercy.
“Encouraging” is the God-given desire, ability and power to uplift others and inspire them to trust God, use their gifts or take positive action. Often associated with teaching, this gift involves delivering God’s Word in such a way that it touches the heart, conscience and will of the hearers, inspiring greater faith and producing deeper devotion to Christ. While a teacher shows others what should be done, the encourager helps them do it.
“Contributing” is the God-given desire, ability and power of one who has the financial or material resources to give freely so that others’ needs are met and God’s work is advanced.
“Leadership” is the God-given desire, ability and power to guide and oversee the various activities of the church for the spiritual benefit of all.
“Showing Mercy” is the God-given desire, ability and power to help and comfort those in need or distress. All of these abilities should be exercised “cheerfully” – as God-given opportunities – not grudgingly or reluctantly, as if they were a chore.
ROMANS 12:9 – Total Commitment Means To Hate What Is Evil.
It is not enough for God’s people to love what is right and true; they must also, like their Saviour, hate evil. We see this reality of Christ’s devotion to righteousness and His hatred of wickedness in His life., ministry and death. There are two things that increase our love of righteousness and our hatred of evil:
- Growing in genuine love and compassion for those whose lives are being destroyed by sin
- Experiencing a deeper relationship and greater union with our God and Saviour, who “loved righteousness and hated wickedness”
To Be Continued!!!
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