I just love this passage. We chose it thoughtfully and I am excited to dig into it for practical application.
This past year has been a year of spiritual stagnancy for me. I found myself unintentionally stunted in growth after the sudden passing of my oldest brother, and this has manifested in the following ways: I quit reading my bible regularly, I stopped writing in my journal, I chose not to step out of my comfort zone and I began to isolate myself from my community of friends. I used to do this really helpful little thing for myself, I’d write out pieces of scripture, and stick them to the walls, the fridge and anywhere I’d often look to nourish myself throughout the day. Eventually I stopped doing that as well, and tore down the existing ones. I began to stay quiet about my faith, and I just decided to keep going through the motions. I attended church on Sundays, bible study on Mondays and women’s group on Wednesdays. If I just kept my head down, then maybe I would finish well.
I began to become lazy and complacent in my walk with God…like perhaps I could keep my faith to myself? Maybe I could get away with nit picking the bible, and choosing the verses I liked? Like perhaps I could focus only on the verses that said I should stay home and be a housewife and never reach outside of what I knew to be safe? Maybe I could just stay indoors, be a wife and a mom and that would be okay with God? So that is what I began to do. I took joy in doing these things, they are God honoring things! I loved spending time devoting myself to my family, but deep in my heart I had a tiny yearning. It was always there. It was that same little voice that picked away at my soul from the beginning.
“Where are you in your walk with the Lord?”…that little voice.
That is why I know this first verse will be a challenge. It speaks of offering ourselves up as a living sacrifice to God, as a proper way of worship to Him Almighty. Well it is safe to say that I haven’t been doing that. After all I nit-picked the bible for friendly verses, left out all the ones that told me to be active and to grow in my faith, and I settled.
This verse is calling me out. It’s directly speaking to me right now. And that is why I love God’s word. He is alive through his written word! He speaks to me when I need guidance and correction. He points at me in the crowd and beckons me near. God’s word is the foundation for which I stand. This particular verse is telling me to act in haste, that I can’t spend my life sitting around waiting for the flies to drop. I was put here for a reason! It says so in Jeremiah 29:11-I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.
I am one of the brothers and sisters that Paul is writing to.
Paul knows that like the early Church of Rome, that we too are a wayward crowd. Fixed upon our own desires. He experienced first-hand how God can change our hearts. After all God changed Saul to Paul on the journey to Demascus! He blinded him and spoke to him divinely (Acts 9:3-9) and from that day forward, Paul was committed with zeal, to share the gospel.
I wasn’t on the road to Demascus, I was in my van heading west. I hadn’t murderously persecuted the Christians, but I did deny Christ. And just as God spoke aloud to Paul, he spoke to me…through his ALIVE WRITTEN WORD!! He changed my heart that day, and took me from my “mud and mire”. He plucked me clean out and set me upon a new path. His path. And here I am picking out the nice verses, not sharing my faith, not being excited like I was that day I drove home with the 1 Corinthians verse in mind. Being lazy, and waiting for someone else to do the work.
If the bible speaks against this complacency, then perhaps I should take it seriously. I am not honoring God by shushing his voice, or ignoring his promptings, or finding excuse after excuse to not read my bible. This one is my biggest failure. I must fill myself continually with his guiding word, and keep my eyes and ears open to hear his voice. If I shut this out, I will stay this way always and at the end of my life, in pride I will think I have finished well…I will feel like I’ve been a good and faithful servant….sadly I am not the judge.
This week, I challenge you. Take a look at areas of your life that you have become complacent in. If it is reading your bible, praying, finding community, etc…write it down.
Write it down and ask yourself why you haven’t been doing it? Do you have excuses like me, I have no time…I find it boring, I don’t get it, I have chores? Etc. Write those down too.
When you are done, pray through your list. Ask God to show you truth, to give you guidance on where you need to fix your energy. He may prompt you to get up earlier to read His word, or to reach out to someone you might not know, but I can assure you that a serious ponder on Romans 12:1 will help you find clarity on areas of your life that can encourage you to be a better living sacrifice for God.
Please feel free to leave a comment or prayer request. I will pray for all of you this week as I make my list. I have a feeling it might be a long list. Till next time friends.
Thank you for your living word. Thank you that it shines light into our hearts. Shine your light into our hearts this week as we prepare to be living sacrifices for you. Help us to see where we have become complacent in our lives. Shift our hearts and our mind towards you. Allow your written living word to breathe life in our lives. You promise that you will draw near to us if we draw near to you, so come close to us and fill our souls in that deep loving way that nothing else can fill.
In Jesus Name, Amen.