If you find yourself continually having to reset your mind back to a “good place,” you are not alone. The world we have encountered daily since things were turned upside down with a pandemic can pull us in so many directions at once.
Lately, I have taken comfort reading Romans because Paul was addressing Christians living in a somewhat hostile and volatile community in Rome.
Paul begged the Christian Jews and Gentiles, “Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him” (Romans 12:2 CEV). How we think about our circumstances directly relates to how we think about God.
Many times, our minds are darkened by the images of war, the heartache of suffering, or by our own sin or pride. I find when I concentrate on the these things, my whole self and mind no longer have a view of all of God’s mercies for me. Transforming my mind and letting God change my thinking comes back in line when I give my body as a living sacrifice.
This line of “a living sacrifice” is often difficult to put into words, but I love the story Jesus tells in Luke 18 about the Pharisee and the tax collector. The Pharisee prayed in the temple about his many good deeds and law-abiding life, including being thankful he wasn’t a chump, like the sinners. No doubt he brought a beautiful sacrifice that day to be burned, but Jesus gives the example of the tax collector, bowed in humility, acknowledging his sin, knowing full well he doesn’t measure up without grace.
This is the living sacrifice Paul talks about. Not because we are worthy in any way, but only in light of God’s mercies and grace. His mercy is key to living sacrificially, renewing our minds to do what is pleasing to him.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2
Written by Julie Grabeel, senior executive assistant to the CEO for Buckner International.