A Living Sacrifice to God1 And so, dear brothers and sisters,[a] 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.[b] 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. (NLT)
I got to thinkin'. I like it when that happens.
I think it is a big deal that the body is mentioned in these two verses. I think humans are tempted for some reason to think as the gnostics thought. We seem to want to separate ourselves into pieces. I understand the Hebrews in Old Testament times did not think this way and I wonder if this is the influence of God on their culture. Are people tempted to have a gnostic view of life? (flesh is bad, spirit is good) I think they are. To me, this verse speaks against that. I increasingly believe that all of who we are is intended to be worshipers of God. I have found it a lot easier to relate to God since I have started paying attention to all of who I am.
I also believe it is fair to say that we will default to what we know and trust. Or, we conform to what/who we know and trust. Paul is asking us to believe that if we place our faith in Father, Son and Holy Spirit we will have to believe differently than we did before. We will need to believe differently about everything. A major part of that journey means we will have to learn to think differently.
I think it's fair to say that most people are so conformed by their environments that they don't even realize they do not think as God thinks. Most people do a lot of work to get God to say what they want God to say. They start with the culture instead of assuming their culture has it backwards/upside down. This is where listening to God and surrendering to God comes in. When the Holy Spirit starts the process of teaching one of His children a new way of seeing there are baby steps along the way, opportunities to retreat back into old ways of understanding or choose to trust God with new ways of understanding. The new ways are God's will.
God wills that we not worry but instead trust Him
God wills that we are not independent but dependent on Him
God wills that we are not greedy but that we are compassionate to others as He is to us.
I listen to Christians as they discuss their lives. So often they don't even recognize that they are worried, trying to do it on their own and greedy to get "the best that life has to offer".
There is something about the willingness to give your life away (offering) to God that helps you to see better, to be more likely to have faith and then depend on God. When you do, God changes you. Praise God!!!!
I do think these are verses on obedience. God wants us to live lives that say, "I get it." I get that willfully doing my own thing is self-destructive and disrespectful and unwise and arrogant and... In view of all that you have revealed to me about who you are and what you have come to offer me I am going to respond to you by yielding (offering up my life) to you. When I choose that life I am going to realize that that is a life that worships you and therefore glorifies you. When I do all that, I will actually understand and appreciate what is good for me. I will know what it is to be pleased with my life. I will know a completeness (perfect) when others around me are saying they are discontent and unsatisfied. It will all be because I trusted myself to You.
So I hope, for all of us, that we will be persuaded by what God has done for us, and then give ourselves to God and trust Him with the outcome.