Friday, January 1, 2016

Because... why not.

As we step away from Christmas; the holiday that represents the beginning of God's LIVING SACRIFICE to us. I find it only fitting that as we charge into this new year, that we give thanks to God by offering [ourselves] as a living sacrifice to Him. 

This is what Romans 12 is all about [A Living Sacrifice to God]. Romans 12 is FULL of honorable New Year resolutions.

These last few days I have been uneasy about what my new year resolutions should be. What word I should pick. On top of it all, I've been battling some pretty mean, nasty, hurtful thoughts towards myself. "If only I looked like... If only I was like... If only I could figure out how to... If only I could love myself... If only I could stop thinking this way... me me me... I, I, I." Knowing these thoughts are not of God, but struggling to battle them - I was thankful when I read Romans 12 today. I'm not saying goals, resolutions, are bad, because I'm all for them, but I'm certainly not all for the degrading thoughts that the enemy tries to defeat us with when it comes time to make them. Something about Romans 12 HIT ME HARD and here's why...

Here's the breakdown of the Romans 12: New Year Resolutions.
Don't just pass these by. If we focus our energy more on these things I believe our minds will help to clear, our hearts will pure, our motives will change, more peace will come, and so on...

Romans 12

  • 12:1 - Give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you [remember that Christmas thing we all just celebrated...yeah.]
  • 12:2 - Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world [what resolutions does this world offer compared to what God offers...], BUT let GOD transform you into a new person [isn't that what we all want upon the New Year...] By changing the way you think. [yes, yes, yes, I know I need a change in my thinking lately]
  • 12:3 - Don't think you are better than you really are. [ouch, but shouldn't I be confident, and think I'm amazing in order to be happy in life...] measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
  • 12:4 - We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. [Ok, so I think He's starting to say that my focus should be on the special function He's given me as a Christ follower. A function that helps others, and is not a selfish or a self-loathing function...]
  • 12:6 - In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. [Aren't we all looking to do things well/better upon the new year... 6-8 lists different gifts, maybe I should start focusing energy on one of those things more...] 
Now onto more of the meat of this whole resolution thing within [Romans 12:9-21]

  • Don't pretend to love others [really love them]
  • Hate what is wrong
  • Hold [tightly] to what is GOOD
  • LOVE each other with genuine affection
  • Take delight in honoring each other 
  • NEVER be lazy, but work [hard] and serve the Lord enthusiastically
  • Rejoice! in our confident HOPE
  • Be patient in trouble and keep on praying
  • When God's people are in need - be ready to help them
  • Always be [eager] to practice hospitality 
  • BLESS those who persecute you - Don't curse them; PRAY God will bless them
  • Be happy with those who are happy
  • Weep with those who weep
  • Live in [harmony] with each other
  • Don't be too proud to enjoy company of ordinary people
  • Don't think you know it all!
  • NEVER pay back evil with more evil
  • Do things in such a way that people see you are honorable
  • Do all that you can to live in PEACE with everyone
  • NEVER take revenge - leave that to the righteous anger of God
  • If your enemies are hungry, FEED THEM - If they are thirsty, GIVE them drink 
  • Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing GOOD

Like I said, so much meat here. I picture Paul giving this charge with passion and purpose. I picture him standing on stage like a rockstar, spouting all this out with deep desire for us to experience this love, this freedom, and this community.  When he's done he drops the mic, steps back, and prayerfully observes the silence that fills the room.