Last night in 20/20/20 I was reading from Romans 12. In 20 minutes I read 2 verses. (Yes, this is possible and no I am NOT super spiritual.) But this is what I discovered.
1 Therefore, 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. Can you see the mercy of God? We use the phrase, "in light of the fact" or "the evidence proves" much the same way Paul opens this verse. Where do you see God's mercy being evidenced in your daily life? Do you praise Him for these acts of mercy?
Living sacrifices is more than just stating we are to be dead to sin but alive in Christ. This is an emotional act from the passion of our heart. Like saying, "This is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I will serve God with all of my heart, soul and understanding."
To be holy and pleasing to God, struck me in a new way. Can you be holy and not pleasing? The answer is yes. After thinking about it a while I remembered that the Jews did obey the law of Moses to the letter. (And then some) Even though they obeyed the law, their hearts were still corrupt. Are there people who come to church, pray and even read their Bible whose heart harbor some kind of sin against their fellow man and against God? You becha!
2 Do 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. To be conformed means to be poured into a mold. One size fits all type of lifestyle. Transformed means to undergo a metamorphosis - a literal change of how ones things and believes. It is people whose mind has been changed through the Holy Spirit and the Word of God who are able to do the following.
Test and approve God's will. I've read this and read this. Now I get it. In order for God's will to be active in my life, I have to test it and approve of it. Now God doesn't need my approval, but He does require my permission. Freewill! I can choose to follow Him or not. That is why many people don't get what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Their conformed mold doesn't allow for Him. But people who are being transformed are able to discover, determine and accept the will of God for their lives.
Paul isn't only presenting a picture of what the Romans should look like to the rest of the world. He is also pointing out to the Jews want they were suppose to do, but didn't, as God's chosen people. A picture of pure worship and pure religion that glorifies God through ones everyday life.