(I am half excited and half terrified to be writing about this verse. It is so rich and, just as “a many-faceted diamond”, there is much that could be said on it (which is a contributing factor as to why this post will be in two parts). And so I pray that as you meditate on it for yourself, you will be enriched by the findings of your treasure hunt, as the Spirit reveals to you His Truth in this verse and the verses to follow.)
“Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.” [Romans 12:1 AMP]
I was recently listening to a message on the holiness of God, by brother Chip Ingram; in it, there was a particular point he gave that greatly saddened and convicted me. He said, “We are living in a day where we actually treat the commands of God like an optional vending machine or salad bar. You know, ‘The 10 Commandments? Let me think … ok, I’m good with 1,2,4,7, and 9. Could I get that to-go, please?” … As soon as I heard that, the Holy Spirit brought conviction to my heart, showing me where in my life that I have been guilty of that very thing (picking and choosing commands to follow that were more “convenient” and “easier”.) (Oh how marvelous His matchless grace for this poor vile sinner!!)
Now, most of us are familiar with (and have an intellectual knowing of) the following verse:
“For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness – my sinful capacity]. For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not.” [Romans 7:18 AMP]
But how often do I really know that – not a ‘head’ knowing, but a ‘heart’ knowing – that is, that nothing good lives in me. O friends, brothers and sisters! I am 100% guilty of reducing the Awesome Majesty and Holiness of my Maker, and worshipping myself in His place. (The severity of my sin causes me to quake; yet, I realize that I do not even know the full-weight of it.)
Where is this self-worship stemming from? Where can we trace it’s ugly root and expose it’s foul master, the Devil? Well, apart from the truth that I was born in sin and didn’t need anyone to teach me how to do wrong – I knew it on my own – that root of self and pride is watered (or denied water) by what I am choosing to meditate* on.
Am I meditating on me and everything that concerns me? How I can build my kingdom? How I can further my reputation?
Am I meditating on the perfect Savior, what He is concerned with and His desire for personal relationship with His creation (unimaginable!)? How His Kingdom can be built through the surrendered life? How words can be used to further His reputation and spread His name abroad?
This God that Paul is pleading with us to present ourselves to, as living sacrifices, He is Holy.
“The holiness of God is both His majesty and moral purity, it’s the absolute absence of evil; it encompasses what’s pure, holy, righteous; the English root word for ‘holiness’ has the idea of wholeness or soundness; it encompasses the aspect of health. So to be ‘holy’, isn’t just candles and a black robe and singing special songs in a very low voice, with low lights; it’s about the wholeness or the purity of the universe that brings life and health, because as God is He wants us to become (not in our essence, but in our character: holy as He is Holy.)” [Chip Ingram]
This God – our God – is Worthy of ALL our worship!
“Purify and elevate your concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him…” [A.W. Tozer]
O Church! where have you lost your reverence, love and adoration for your Beloved??
Where have you been lost in thought?
[Continued in Part II]
[*Strong’s def. of ‘meditation’: to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse. It’s the idea of going-over something again and again and again. We’ll hear more on meditation in posts to come!]