Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3
On this quiet and gray Thursday morning, I am curled up in a blanket with my dog and tissue box. My nose is stuffed, my voice is gone and my body tells me I am sick. Despite the pathetic, sniffly, sneezing, snorting sounds that I am producing, my mind is functioning at a fairly good rate.
I suppose one good thing about being sick is it forces you to slow down. I have been going full speed ahead for a while and probably needed to put on the brakes and do some thinking.
This morning, as I stop to regroup, I have been thinking about last Sunday. I heard a sermon that has resonated with me all week. I visited a church up in Bellingham, where our friend is the pastor. He happens to be an amazing communicator, bible teacher too.
He said these words,
“Only in dying can we truly live.”
I had to chew on this statement for a while.
Die to self so that Christ may live.
What does this mean?
This scripture was one that I had memorized years ago. It was one that led me to ministry.
Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world. (NIV)
What does this mean? Give up all cultural things? Throw away the television? Isolate myself from the world?
Then he said this,
“Have we brought the church to the world or the world to the church?”
Do we want the church to look like Starbucks for the sake of making people be comfortable?
I started thinking of all ways the world has come to the church. Couldn’t help but think about how American politics have become a divisive source within the church. Clearly our answers in the church are not in the political system. I think we mix our politics with our bible and come up with a mix of sweet and sour mixed with scary.
So what does this scripture mean for us? How do we live with this scripture without becoming legalistic with do’s and don’ts? How does the church reach the world without conforming to it?
And as I learned early on…..the question I always need to ask, “What does this mean to me?”
As I have been going full speed, I realize I have let the world dictate to me a schedule that obviously my body can’t always keep up with. As I get busy, even within ministry, I push God aside, who is the very essence of my ability to live. In my desire to do things well, I forget why I live and end up sacrificing God in my life rather than giving myself as a living sacrifice. The world creeps into my life when I care more about pleasing others and self rather than pleasing God.
When we recognize our weakness, our sickness and our sin, it is then that we can die and let Christ live. That is what this means to me.
So today, I receive my sniffles, sneezing, snorting, snot producing body as a gift, because it allowed me to slow down, take time to pray, read this scripture again and offer myself as a living sacrifice for the One who brings me life.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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