Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Changing Your Mind

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to 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.
(Romans 12:1-2 – ESV)

The sacrifice of our bodies isn’t a sacrifice to pay for sin; it is our spiritual sacrifice (1 Peter 2:5). Your spiritual act of worship, the reasonable service, this is what the presenting is, not that the presenting is reasonable, but that the spiritual worship IS the presenting. Paul says to do it then describes what it is.

In other words, how do you present your body as a living sacrifice? You do it by worshipping God with your mind, by submitting your mind to divine discipline. Obviously you cannot be renewed in your mind unless you have submitted your mind. Renewing your mind means you must be presenting your mind first, it is yielding your mind to the transforming power of God through His Word. It is learning to live from the inside out. Of course that really is what everyone is already doing, what they think is what they do, but we are now redeemed by the blood of Christ, and we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us, and we can be renewed in our minds and live out the implications of the gospel as we speak and preach about.

I want to make sure you get this. It is not simply “present you body as a living sacrifice and that is your spiritual act of worship”, it is “Worshipping God with your mind is presenting your body as a living sacrifice”. The mind is first in the order here, and it is an important distinction. In order to present your body as a living sacrifice, you worship God with your mind. When Paul speaks of presenting your bodies he is speaking of how you act, the whole of your life. Not how your body looks, but how it acts.

Your body is important, but it is controlled by your mind. You are transformed by the renewing of your mind. God is not trying to change our bodies to look like supermodels; no God is trying to change our hearts that we may look like models of Christ. So your body is important, what you do is important, but how you think will determine how you look, like Christ or like the rest of the world. God wants our bodies to deliver acts of mercy and worship towards Him; not bodies that say look at me, but look at Christ! Our bodies, in other words our actions, should show the fruit of spiritual exercise.

Yes we should take care of our bodies, but we should renew our minds first. By the way, just because worship starts with our mind that doesn’t mean you cannot be physically expressive in worship, it means the mind comes first. Worship isn’t just singing some songs on Sunday, or turning on the car radio to the Christian station and singing along. Those things are great, sure, but our whole lives are to be lived as worship to God, and the way to start accomplishing that is to be renewed in our minds. Yes we are supposed to worship God with our bodies, but the way to start that is to worship Him in and with our minds.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Anonymous said...

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col 2:6-8


MrsEvenSo... said...

Your body is important, but it is controlled by your mind.

Yes we are supposed to worship God with our bodies, but the way to start that is to worship Him in and with our minds.

Indeed. We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. How can we do that if we bliss out? It is so important to have a biblically informed conscience so we can worship first and foremost in our minds at all times. Being conscious of Who, why and how we worship.

Even So... said...

Amen to all of that...

Even So... said...

Without grounding all we are is limbs thrashing about in the wind...

donsands said...

"by submitting your mind to divine discipline."

Sacrifice is one of those tough words. I usually give into the non-sacrificial urge. And then, those times I'm able to sacrifice, I need to fight getting puffed-up.

I need the Spirit so bad. And I need the Word. And I need the Body of Christ.

But I am promised to be His workmanship. So i bow my heart to his throne, and stand on the promises of the Almighty God.

Thanks for another impeccable lesson JD.