Romans 12

 Romans 12 is a chapter filled with some powerful truths about the body of Christ.  Paul begins though by addressing our own body.  “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”.  That is a mouthful of instruction.  We are to live as a living sacrifice – focused on serving our God.  That means we need to live His way – not conformed to the ways of the world.  Whoa – that means counter cultural – that means we will stick out like a sore thumb.  Yes it does.  We should not just blend in with the world my friends.  Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we could fit in.  He didn’t give His life so we just fell into the crowd.  In fact, He died to bring us out of the crowd – to lift us away from the norm – to live life differently.  How does that happen – by transforming our mind.  We have to think differently.  We have to have a mind filled with God’s truth and God’s ways which we learn through the scriptures and prayer.  We have to choose to be different.  That is what God has called us to do.

Sometimes as Christ Followers we tend to think we are pretty special.  We are in the fact that Jesus went to the cross for us.  In fact we are very special in God’s sight.  But we also need to remember that we must “not think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned”.  Since salvation comes by faith and grace – it is not about us at all and there is nothing that should give us grounds to think we are better than the rest – inside or outside the body.  God has assigned us “gifts that differ according to the grace given to us”.  We have been created with a purpose and for a purpose in the body.  It is nothing we have done – it is another gift from God.  But we have been given these to work together realizing we are “individually members one of another”.  We are part of One Body.

So what are the gifts that Paul calls out here and asks us to use?  These are sometimes called the “motivational gifts” which mean they are the things that drive us at the core of our being.  Take a look at the seven different ways God wires us as Christ Followers:

  1. prophecy
  2. service
  3. teaching
  4. exhortation
  5. generosity
  6. leads (rules)
  7. acts of mercy

These gifts are all crucial to the body of Christ functioning well.  God assigns these to us as part of His body – as a Christ Follower we have been given gifts by the Father.  We need to identify what they are and life them out to the fullest.

Paul goes on to give us another list in this chapter.  A long list of things we should do – a how to live sort of list.  Check it out:

–       “Let love be genuine

–       Abhor what is evil

–       hold fast to what is good

–       Love one another

–       Outdo one another in showing honor

–       Do not be slothful in zeal

–       fervent in spirit

–       serve the Lord

–       Rejoice in hope

–       be patient in tribulation

–       be constant in prayer

–       Contribute to the needs

–       show hospitality.

–       Bless those who persecute you

–       Rejoice with those who rejoice

–       weep with those who weep

–       Live in harmony

–       Do not be haughty

–       Never be conceited

–       Repay no one evil for evil

–       do what is honorable

–       live peaceably with all

–       never avenge yourselves

–       Do not be overcome by evil

–       overcome evil with good

In case you were wondering how you should live – Paul spells it out pretty clearly here.  These are outcomes of putting the seven gifts into motion.  When we take God’s gifts and apply them to the world around us – we live God’s way.  That is what Paul is calling us to do.  Live all out for God.  Be transformed by a renewing of our mind.  Live for Him and for each other as part of the Body.  Do you know what gift you have been given?  Are you living this list?  It will definitely set you apart from the rest of the world!

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