"Therefore, I urge you,(A) brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,(B) holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform(C) to the pattern of this world,(D) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.(E) Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is(F)—his good, pleasing(G) and perfect will." (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)
Paul says "... in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice...." We bring our lives to God with openness. Openness to the Spirit of God to transform us so that we might become the person we have been created to be.
In a recent Sunday service, we did a little exercise where we looked at piece of scripture and then edited it to reveal the opposite of what it said. Here is what we did:
We started with Romans 12: 9-16
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.(NIV)
Then we wrote in opposite words throughout the passage (not to rewrite scripture in our own words, but to contrast the fruit of a life lived with Christ at the centre and one lived without.)
9 Love must be fake. Love what is evil; cling to what is evil. 10 Be devoted to yourself in love. Honor yourself above others. 11 Always be lacking in zeal, deny your spiritual fervor, take from the Lord. 12 Be joyful in despair, anxious in affliction, unreliable in prayer. 13 Hoard from the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice unwelcoming.
14 Curse those who persecute you; curse and do not bless. 15 Complain with those who rejoice; celebrate with those who mourn. 16 Live in discord with one another. Do not be humble, but be obstinate to associate with people of low position. Do not be humble.
As we go through life seeking to have Christ at the centre, it will be helpful to recognize the ways we respond to Jesus and the ways that we do not. I hope this little exercise is a helpful way to begin to see our lives so that we might truly be living sacrifices that are being transformed.