“Our Reasonable Service”
Have you ever asked yourself, “What does God want me to do with my life?” Well, if you sincerely want to know, I have good news for you! God gives you the answer in the following verses.
1 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.
For you and I who have been born again (having turned away from our own sin, and put all of our trust in Christ and his finished work on the cross to save us) God asks us to offer our bodies for his service. When we do this, God will begin to lead each one of us down the path that he wants us to follow.
When God, speaking through the Apostle Paul, says that he is beseeching us, he is earnestly begging us regarding something that is very close to his own heart. Note that he is begging us by God's mercies. God is not forcing us toward his purpose for us, but is pulling on each of our hearts, asking us to seriously consider his own great mercies toward us before we decide whether we will or will not give our entire selves to him.
How are we to present our bodies to him? Not as a dead body, insensitive to his love and guidance, but as a living body…living for him. Our bodies are to be holy (pure). They are to be acceptable to God. We are to put God’s will for our bodies ahead of our own will, because the simple truth is that we no longer belong to ourselves. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (I Corinthians 6:20)
Someone may say, “Well, that is going just a bit too far. Perhaps that is good for a pastor or someone who is in ‘full time service’ but surely that is not meant for me. After all we must be reasonable.” Oh, my friend, God is speaking directly to you and to me! He says plainly that this is our reasonable service. For that Christian whose heart is full of gratitude for the sacrifice that Christ made for them this is easy to see.
2 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.
God continues to clearly show us his will for our lives in verse two. We are not to be conformed to this world. God is begging you and me to not think, act, or be like the world in things that are contrary to his will. Instead we are to be transformed. The Greek word for transformed here is “metamorphoo”.
This is where we get our English word “metamorphous” which we use to describe the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. This is quite a change! How can this kind of change take place in us? By the renewing of our mind. Only God can renew our mind, but once again, he won’t force this upon us. He begs us to allow him to renew our mind. This requires our cooperation with him as he shows us his will in his word.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
The Greek word for “grace” in verse 3 is from a root word meaning rejoicing and gladness. Once again, God is not harshly forcing us to be conformed to his will. In verse 1, he is begging us through his mercy. In verse 3, he is begging us through his grace. This should cause us to joyfully follow him! Not only this, but once again God is appealing to reasonableness as well. Soberness has to do with just being in our right mind. It is absolutely reasonable for us to humble ourselves when we consider that the King of kings humbled himself because he loved us so much:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
In a church one Sunday after the preaching service had ended and the meeting place was mostly empty, the Pastor noticed that one of the offering plates was lying on the floor. Standing inside that offering plate was an earnest looking little girl. When the Pastor walked up to her and asked her why she was standing in the offering plate, she responded by saying, “I am offering myself to God.” What a wonderful illustration of what God is teaching us in the verses from Romans chapter twelve!
God in his mercy and grace, is earnestly begging us
to joyfully give our entire lives to him.
Is not this our reasonable service?
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