Body and Mind

I’ve been copying out the book of Romans for the past couple of months. When I reached the beginning of chapter 12, I made a connection I hadn’t made before, one I continue to mull over even now, days later. Here’s what I read:

Honestly, I’ve read these two verses quite often, but I’ve mostly considered them separately. And yet as I wrote them in my little copybook, I stopped. They had a connection to one another that perhaps I hadn’t fully comprehended before. Verse 1 addresses the body; verse 2, the mind. And yet there is nothing in between. They are butted up against one another in a way that made me suddenly stop and take notice.

Presenting our bodies–our actions, our fleshly desires, our energy, our mouths, everything that encompasses our bodily flesh–as a living sacrifice is our spiritual service of worship. I get that. I really do.

Our minds are to be transformed, to not think as the world thinks, but to seek and understand the will of God, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. I get that, too.

But when I put them together, I sometimes falter. Is my renewed mind informing the spiritual service of worship that happens through my body? I can’t always say yes to that. If my mind is transformed, it ought to affect my actions. It ought to help me subjugate my flesh to the will of God. If I determine to give my actions and my body as sacrificial worship in honor of God, isn’t that very motivation a moving away from the world’s thinking and a step toward proving the will of God in my life? It should be. And yet my motives tend to get mixed up in worship of God and worship of self.

I confess, I have a tendency to focus on mind over body. I know those who do the opposite. But if we all lived according to Romans 12:1-2, it would be a circular cycle, one dependent on the other. Body and mind, working in tandem to show God to the world. But it can’t be one or the other. It must be both. As I meditate on these two verses, I wonder if we need to be more cognizant of the balance between offering up our bodies and renewing our minds. In doing so, wouldn’t we then be in a better position to put on display what is good and acceptable and perfect? And isn’t that exactly the definition of the kind of sacrifice the children of Israel were instructed to bring before God?

I’d love to hear what these two verses say to you in relation to your everyday life.


2 comments on “Body and Mind

  1. Though another version might be interesting to consider.
    Romans 12:1-2 “I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you. In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”
    I love the connector: “In other words” because it equates the two actions you have identified. (Olam hazeh is this present world)
    My delight in these verses is the connection to the sacrificial system that I see as a very real picture of Christ in our worship. He asked them to bring the best they could afford. He asked them to offer it freely. He asked them to confess their sin by laying hands and speaking that sin out over the animal transferring and exchanging both the sin and the purity so that the offerer was transformed. He asked them to give it all to God leaving nothing in reserve to temp them to. He asked his representatives to take it further by washing the offering and themselves to showing literal sin had been figuratively removed. Then a piece of the fire later even went through to the Holy Place to burn on the altar of incense and lift up the prayers of those that gave. Once a year that sacrifice even went into the Most Holy Place to not only cleanse the one but rather to cover the whole nation.
    When we sin we on this side of the cross have hearts and minds that have to choose the same path. They must feel the need for restoration with God. We must confess our sin. We must choose to figuratively wash away through water and the word those sins that His perfect and innocent blood alone can remove. We lift our prayers to Him and intercede for others, even nations knowing full well that His blood can cover it all.
    So we too walk the path of sacrifice. We too choose to be transformed and in this path we are providing our logical “Temple Worship.” We choose with our renewed minds to offer our daily actions as of work to be transformed into worship. Anything your hand finds to do; do that as into The Lord.

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