I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
History and Context:
As I wrote in yesterdays post, Spirit vs. Flesh, Romans was written to the church of Rome, which was made up of both Gentile and Jewish Christians. The Gentiles and the Jews fought a lot about what it was to be saved and who was better in he eyes of God. Romans 11 takes this argument head on and shows that Israel was rejected because of their disobedience, but they can return, and God wants them to return. Then in verse 33 he brings the discussion to a close with this statement: "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" He then leads into our chosen scripture with a thought of "who can know the mind of Christ?"
This scripture has been used in a lot of ways in various sermons. It is an important scripture because it shows us how to keep our minds and our bodies in check. As we discussed yesterday, the spirit you is good, but you do contain two other parts in your being, a soul and a body. This passage discusses those two parts. Specifically, when we look at context, it is discussing how we can have the mind of Christ.
The first step is to sacrifice our physical desire. If we are continually giving in to our physical desires like hunger, thirst, sleep, sex, etc. we will bcome numb to the things of the spirit. This does not mean that we have to become a monk, cutting off all physical pleasure, but there is such things as gluttony, slothfulness, and lust. These are all sins in which we overindulge in one of our earthly desires and we need to instead sacrifice them. This means we don't let them control us and we don't find emotional fulfillment in these things.
The second step towards having a mind of Christ deals directly with our mind. Paul writes that we need to renew our mind. Rather than being conformed to the world we should be transformed and this is how. Renewing our mind, beginning to think like Him rather than thinking like the world and society around us. This comes through feeding our thoughts constantly with the Word and things that line up with the Word. We must be careful about the music we listen to, movies we watch, people we are constantly around, etc. What are you feeding your mind?
First of all, you must assess yourself as to which step you are on. Renewing your mind will not work if you are still overindulging yourself in your physical desires. For the first step the challenge is for you to sacrifice whichever desire is most difficult for you. If you find yourself constantly eating, take a day to fast, if you find yourself always sleeping, make it a point to get up early in order to pray, etc. For the second step, again you have to assess where you are at. Maybe you need to cut out secular music for a while, maybe you need to be more strict about the movies you watch, or maybe you should just focus on being more conscious about when you read the Word. There are so many ways to apply this scripture and it is up to you to decide where you need the challenge.
Lord, show me where I am overindulging myself and where I need to sacrifice a desire. Help me to have a mind like you do. Help me to understand what you think. Help me to think like you and not like the world. I love you Lord! In Jesus Name, Amen!