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Knowing God’s Will 5: Look Back to Move Forward

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Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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. (NIV11)

Paul’s call to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice is extreme. It reminds me of when Jesus said that any who followed him would have to deny themselves, pick up their crosses, and follow him daily. God doesn’t just want our Sunday mornings, our money, or our volunteer hours. He wants our whole being—heart, soul, mind, and strength.

It’s challenging to offer ourselves at such a level of deep commitment, but I think in this verse Paul offers a way of looking at it that helps us take this huge step. He says, “Therefore…” which ties what he is saying into the earlier parts of Romans, and he says, “…In view of God’s mercy.”

For eleven chapters Paul talks about God’s grace, love, and compassion. It is in light of those mercies of God that we can entrust ourselves to live one hundred percent for him. It’s like a little kid who stands at the edge of a pool, both excited and terrified. His daddy holds out his arms and calls to him from the water, “Come on buddy! You can do it. Jump!” It is in consideration of his father’s character that the child can jump. In the same way, it is in view of God’s character and goodness that we can offer ourselves as living sacrifices—fully devoted to him!

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