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Not conformed - transformed

July 14, 2022
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Daily Scripture

Romans 12:1-2

1 So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. 2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

People of all backgrounds in the first century Mediterranean world would have seen “sacrifice” as solely “religious” activity. Like them, we might think being “transformed” mostly meant having better religious ideas. We need to catch what The Message version saw in Romans 12:1: “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” * That’s the difference between a “living sacrifice” and a dead one.

  • In the ancient world, most people had made a sacrifice to some god. That usually meant killing an animal in the god’s temple or shrine. If that were your background, how would you need to shift your thinking and acting to respond to Paul’s call to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice”? In what ways are you willing to put yourself, your life, “on the altar” to live daily for God?
  • We sometimes live a sort of “news channel” life: we treat “Religion” as a completely separate topic from “Business,” “Entertainment,” “Politics” and the like. How would the transforming of your mind Paul called for affect your business dealings? Political behavior? Activities like sports or movie-going? Shopping? What forces try to lead you to resist transformation, to conform to the patterns of this world? How has God helped you to move beyond those pressures?
Prayer

Lord of my life, continue touching and transforming me to make my every-day, ordinary life an offering to you, an ongoing act of worship. Amen.

GPS Insights

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

The concept of sacrifice can often evoke the grim picture of the historical context: dead animals, blood, and priests in a temple. With that in mind, it can be a hard concept to apply to our modern day lives. When Scripture instructs us to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices,” figuring out how to do that with the many comforts some of us have can be difficult. What constitutes a sacrifice?

Currently I’m writing from Tuskegee, Alabama with a group of high school students and adult leaders serving with Alabama Rural Ministries. Two groups are serving at construction worksites repairing roofs in the local community and another group serving at a Day Camp with children ages nine to 11. Sure, there are other sacrifices that can be made in so many different ways, but these students and leaders have embodied what it means to be a living sacrifice by giving up time from their lives to meet multiple needs in a community. They’ve abandoned the comforts and routines of home and chosen to spend a significant amount of time ministering to individuals who are complete strangers to them.

I’ve seen students push past their limits in order to bring a smile to another person’s face. I’ve seen them try new skills they would otherwise be scared to attempt. I’ve seen them forgo showers without complaint in order to make ministry happen (the latter might be less of a sacrifice for the students and more so for the adults who’ve volunteered to minister near them this week!).

Sacrifice doesn’t look the same for everyone, but Scripture tells us it is true and proper worship. I don’t know where each of these students are in their spiritual walk, but I have seen them exercise true and proper worship this week. On a roof in the heat of the day…on a field with a bunch of kids in 75% humidity—all with less than the optimal amount of sleep.

I’m not sure what sacrifice would look like in your life, but from what we’ve seen here, opportunities are endless. Our young people are leading us by setting an incredible example with a positive attitude. Traveling to another city isn’t a requirement–there are people in need everywhere. So, where can YOU engage in true and proper worship today?

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Peterson, Eugene H., The Message Numbered Edition Hardback. Navpress. Kindle Edition.