Read Romans 12: 1-21
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (NIV)
In this short section, Paul gives us the image of a Christian life lived out to God’s glory. Paul begins by saying that our lives are a living sacrifice to God – that the way we live is our truest spiritual act of worship.
His first way of living is so critical to living a wonderful life, “don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought.” For me, this is learning to laugh at yourself. It is learning that the world does not revolve around me. It means I can think about others and lift them up.
Paul then puts this into context by saying all of us are just members of a greater good. Together, with all the others in the church, we make up the body, each person with their own task. That is what is important in life, finding that task God has given us. Paul even says in Philippians that God has already laid out that task for us to do. We simply just need to do it.
From verse 9 on, it is a list of what our life should look like in the way we treat people. Notice the way he describes our actions, love sincerely, cling to what is good, be devoted, practice hospitality, honor each other, be willing to associate with people in low places.
And then he talks about how we treat those we consider our enemy and those who hate us. This is where it gets real. It is what is lacking in our culture today. The church throughout its history has always overcome evil with good, not with evil. We have loved, served and given of ourselves and it makes a difference in our communities and beyond. We called to live differently than the world. Paul gives us a glimpse in the 12th chapter of Romans of what that looks like.
How do you see your life as a witness to the world? Do you consider the way you live to be an act of worship each day?
Blessings and Peace