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.