My daughter and I have a tradition every morning during our commute to school. She picks a Bible verse to read to me, and we discuss what it means and how we may apply it to our lives. It has become a very special time for both of us. It is my favorite time of the day!
Two days ago she read me Romans 12:2. I loved that she picked that verse. Our discussion was rich and applicable to our lives on many fronts. It was a treasured discussion that I won’t soon forget!
The beauty of God’s word is how it imprints our hearts and ministers to us in our times of need. Yesterday was the perfect example. I had a fearful day. I was thankful when I awoke at 3 AM this morning to have Romans 12:2 and many other appropriate verses that immediately became my defense against the enemies of the night such as anxiety and worry.
It is funny because the day before my daughter read Romans 12:2, I had listened to a sermon by Tim Keller on Romans 12:1. Romans 12:1 says: And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
In the old testament, sacrifices were made in the form of animals. We thankfully do not practice that style of sacrifice anymore. Alternatively, we are the sacrifices we present to God each day. It is an ongoing process of presenting our will, our desires and our needs to God and relinquishing our hands from them. In his sermon, Keller humorously noted that the problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar. He makes a great point! In all seriousness, though, we are to be constant living sacrifices, and that takes intention, effort, determination, and time. It is a marathon and not a sprint.
The truth is, whether we are running life as a marathon, renewing and committing ourselves to God daily or running as a sprint under our authority and sufficiency; both are challenging. What the first gives us that the latter does not are promises of hope and joy. It equips us with an ability to fall in all the pot holes along the race, only to rise, dust ourselves off and keep running. The circumstances and conditions of our race do not define us, but they depict the character of a living God who lives inside us. I would much rather be eternally equipped for the marathon of life, than dependent on myself or someone other than Jesus, to run this race with me.
When I fail to present myself coonsistently to God, renewing my mind daily, life gets messier than usual.
Fear is born of the world. It constantly lurks around vying for my attention. It is an invisible assailant focused on extinguishing faith. This is what fear looks like for me when I am not vigilant about soul maintenance:
Alternatively, faith is not nurtured by the things of this temporary life, but an eternal one. Faith is a wiser choice, but it requires a constant renewing of my mind. Faith, while never perfectly mastered leads me closer to where I desire to be:
Romans 12:2~Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
May we all run this race with joy and perseverance friends! It is not efficient, but highly effective. It is not for the weak but the wise. It is not a promise of a perfect life but a purposeful one. It is a promise of a perfect eternity. That is good news!