Notes for the message from Romans 12:1-8
On Romans 12 – Lives as spiritual sacrifice & renewal of minds
As you’ve heard me say before, so many times in the last 7 ½ years:
Our identity, as individuals and as a community is NOT set by what others say or believe about us, whether they tell us to our faces or not.
Your identity is NOT what others say about you.
Your identity is NOT what others believe about you.
Your identity is NOT EVEN what you say or believe about yourself.
Your identity IS what God in Christ says about you.
Words that are true. Words that can be believed. Words that you can live by.
YOU ARE LOVED
YOU ARE OF GREAT VALUE
YOU ARE MINE
NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH THAT I GIVE EVERYTHING FOR YOU!
I GIVE MY VERY SON FOR YOU.
Or as Max Lucado says:
GOD COULDN’T IMAGING SPENDING ETERNITY
THUS, HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON
TO MAKE YOU PURE
TO MAKE YOU SAFE
TO FORGIVE YOU FULLY AND TOTALLY
As Paul has said, earlier in Romans,
Because of Jesus Christ
NOTHING CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM THE LOVE OF GOD
That is the power of love. That is the power of grace. God’s love – total, complete, undeserved, unearned. Simply given, because God chooses to give it.
As you can begin to come to terms with this
As your self-understanding is that you are loved, no matter what
As you begin to LIVE in that relationship
Your life is shaped, is molded and yes, is changed into a new way of being.
I am loved. Totally. Completely.
As such, that means that, yes, I AM LOVEABLE, CAPABLE OF BEING LOVED.
AND, I CAN BEGIN TO LOVE MYSELF, IN AN APPROPRIATE WAY.
TO TREAT MYSELF MORE GENTLY.
TO DO THE THINGS THAT ARE GOOD FOR MY PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL LIFE.
And after you being that transformation into a new way of seeing yourself, THEN you can hear and respond to God’s love in a new way.
Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Paul Achtemeier writes:
“Life under the lordship of God means a life under the structuring power of grace. That power transforms not only individuals, but the individuals’ relationships to the community around them. Living by the power of the Spirit, and accepting the gracious lordship of god, the Christian’s world has been made new; and the task is now to let the structuring power of grace transform the world into the shape of grace. . . .
We are to shape our lives to the structures of grace rather than to the structures of the world. . . . Pau. . . . urges his readers to not be shaped by the reality of the world (evil) but to reshape that reality by the power of grace (good).
The 2nd verse for today’s lesson can be translated:
Do not let yourselves be shaped by what everyone else does, but rather let yourselves be transformed by a whole new way of thinking, so you can discern what conforms to the God’s will.”
—Dan Baumgartner, “Mr. Wemmick at work
Work has to be the most amazing opportunity to share with others as a Christian.
I’m not talking about hitting people over the head with a Bible, or standing on top of the water cooler to preach at break time.
I’m talking about the people. People you are with over a long period of time.
People who watch you.
People who, in this day of megamergers and job instability and downsizing continually hear the message: “You are expendable … ,”
but we have the opportunity to live out, speak, pray, care and say to others (as God says to us), “You are of the utmost importance.”
Noticing the people God puts around us helps keep us whole.
Today’s readings invite us to ponder our unique vocations as they reflect our relationship with God.
They challenge us to make changes and chart new pathways of fidelity to God.
Vocation means change.
We must choose to embrace certain things and let go others.
Our vocations, our callings, invite us to realize that our gifts shape and are shaped by the communities of which we a part, including the body of Christ.
In living out our gifts, we share in God’s vision of healing the world.
Our gifts are meant for inclusion.
God’s presence in our lives goes beyond parochialism, imperialism, and superiority to embrace God’s good earth and its people in service and companionship.
There is no superiority or set apartness in the body of Christ; in our diversity we are one in spirit. Everyone’s gift is intended to be cherished and nurtured.
The words of Romans 12 call us to a transformed vision of ourselves and the world.
Let your embodiment be holy.
Don’t be conformed to the world in its violence and competition; be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Transformed vision enables us to discover our vocation and help others find their place in the body of Christ.
In the spirit of Philippians, we need to embrace the mind of Christ, seeing all creatures as God’s beloved children.
We are interconnected, and joined with one another. We create each other, shaping each other’s experience by our actions.