Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
This has been one of my favorite passages of scripture since I was in high school. It was even the verse that I used as the theme for the first retreat I lead as a youth minister (23 years ago!). So, this passage has some sentimental, as well as theological, meaning for me.
One of the reasons that I have loved this passage for so long is that it doesn’t leave any ambiguity. That is true in any of the various translations you can find, but it is especially true in the message version.
So often, we struggle to know exactly what we are supposed to do or how we are to live as followers of Jesus. But here we have clear instruction: With God’s help use your ordinary everyday life – ‘your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life and offer it to God.’
Paul’s point here is that all of us, no matter what our job or career is, have the same vocation: to do everything, even the little, normal, seemingly inconsequential things for God, and to share his love with others.
After this clear directive, Paul issues a warning: Living our lives for God is only possible if we keep in mind who we really are. In other scriptures Paul calls those of us that are followers of Jesus ‘strangers and aliens’ here on earth because our true home is the kingdom of God. The message here is that we can’t forget who we really are.
This is easier said that done, of course. But, again, Paul gives us some more direction. All of us have heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’, and this is sort of Paul’s message here. How do we stay true to our calling as citizens of heaven and followers of Jesus: instead of consuming – with our mouths, ears, eyes, and mind – all of the messages and values of this world, fix your eyes on Jesus.
When we turn our eyes to Jesus, it opens our hearts and lives to be transformed by God, as Paul says – ‘from the inside out’. This transformation leads us towards being the best versions of ourselves, and is what God truly wants for all of us.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Transform our minds, dear Lord. Help us to fix our eyes on you so that we might be transformed by your love for us. Amen.