January 3, 2009

Resolutions and Romans 12

I'm not much on making New Year Resolutions. Mostly because I'm not much on keeping them! My guess is that most people have a hard time keeping New Year Resolutions. When I did a google search for "Keeping New Year Resolutions" google found nearly 18 million websites. Unfortunately, few of them address the most important reason for making and keeping New Year Resolutions: God's Glory. While making New Year Resolutions are beneficial and often enrich our lives for the better, we must remember to dedicate our goals to God. Whether your resolution is to lose weight, get in touch with a long lost family members, or to decrease your debt, if it is not done for God's glory it will be in vain. Colossians 3:17 instructs us: "Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father." (NLT)

I've been reading in Romans 12 (my favorite passage in the Word of God.) In this passage Christ Followers are given detailed instructions for living Christ-centered lives. Paul writes, "Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age (world) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God." (HCSB)

Paul is telling the Christians in Rome that the purpose of our day (and the purpose for our New Year Resolution) should be to worship Christ. I love how The Message phrases it: "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." Our daily duties, our yearly resolutions should be wrought out of a desire to bring Him glory, not for personal gain.

Romans 12:1-2 gives three directives for Christ Followers. Two of them are positive commands, one is a negative command. The two positive commands are: 1. Do present yourself as a living sacrifice to God, and 2. Do be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The negative command is: Do Not conform to this world!

Today I will focus on the first command:

1. Do present yourself as a living sacrifice.
This is hard to do on a daily basis! Taking everyday activities, from the time you get up to the time you go to bed and dedicating them to God and for His glory is tough! Yet the Word of God is clear when it comes to discussing God's desire for our living sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22 "Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention [is better] than the fat of rams."

Psalm 51:16-17 "You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering.The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart."

It doesn't really mean anything to God for us to make New Year Resolutions, regardless if we keep them or not. He asks for our daily, sacrificial living intent on bringing Him glory. As 2009 begins, let's resolve to live sacrificially before Almighty God.


VPS said...

Thanks for the reminder, Amanda. It's scary to think of the trials & tribulations of daily life burning up as wood, hay, & stubble, all because the day was spent in one's own power. Very timely reminder.

PS - I don't make resolutions either!

Mrs. Smith said...

Simon's favorite verses are Romans 12:1-2. They are even inscribed on the Bible I gave him upon graduating from Southeastern 15 years ago...wow, 15 years ago? (sigh) Love you, Ericka

ame said...

R12:1-2 are my favorite verses as well. Prov. 31:30 is my life motto, but I LOVE this passage in Romans. What I didn't realize until recently is that Paul clearly outlines the *how to* of being a living sacrifice in the rest of Romans 12 and on through most of the rest of the book! I don't know why I didn't put this together before, but it clicked for me. So I'm studying it.