In the opening verse of Romans 12, Paul appeals to the saints (by reminding them of the grace of God he’s spent the last 11 chapters focused on) to dedicate their bodies and energies to God. Dedicating your life to God is a reasoned decision that is made upon consideration of all God has done for you. If mandated, the decision loses steam eventually.
In verse 2, he brings out a principle – the word of God must become your ideological standard for living; not culture, tradition or norms. If a behaviour or way of life does not accord with the word of God, let it go. Note also that God expects you (and not a Pastor or mentor) to take responsibility for discerning his will for your life.
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” Romans 12:2 AMP
Paul then highlights the interdependence that exists in the body of Christ and shares tips for practical living:
– Our giftings are a function of grace. (Could the reason why we don’t experience many spiritual gifts in churches today be our focus on works instead of grace? The 2 mindsets are antithetical to each other.)
– Everyone can play a role in the body of Christ. What has God gifted you with? Focus on it and execute with singleness of mind, passion and simplicity.
“He who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.” Romans 12:8 AMP
– When God tells us to be steadfast in our trials and to pray, he also explains that it is the saints who will meet the needs of their brethren. Church is supposed to provide a form of social security where people contribute to each other’s needs so no one lacks.
“Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of God’s people [sharing in the necessities of the saints]; pursue the practice of hospitality. Romans 12:12-13 AMP
– We are to love with sincerity and have a deepseated hatred for evil.
– We are to do good to enemies and allow God execute vengeance on our behalf.
– We are to live in peace with others, identify with what they are going through, and practice humility & consideration.
The last verse is important to me. It is not enough for me to resist evil. I must actively overcome evil with good. It is not enough to avoid being influenced by the world, I must actively influence my world too.
“Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome (master) evil with good.” Romans 12:21 AMP
Ps: For more study notes, please go here. To develop a relationship with God and his word, say the simplest of prayers asking him to help. Inbox if you have questions.