Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is— His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The last couple of days we’ve been talking about offering our lives as a living sacrifice. Today, I want to talk about why we do this. Paul was pretty clear…we do it because of God’s mercy.
God’s mercy should motivate us to live the kind of life that honors God. In fact, Paul used the words, “in view of God’s mercy.”. Mercy means compassion, pardon, and forgiveness. In fact, the word Paul used for mercy was plural, so some translations will say “mercies of God.” Paul was referring to the undeserved kindness God showed toward sinners—it’s one of the main themes so far in the letter.
Let’s take it a step further so we can really grasp God’s mercy. Think about this: mercy can only be given. It’s an action that can only be taken by the stronger toward the weaker: the rich toward the poor, the insider toward the outsider, the have toward the have not. Now, think of mercy in terms of your salvation. We were powerless to do anything; we were weak, poor, and outsiders—incapable of ever rescuing ourselves. Then, God revealed Himself to us—He showed His mercy toward us and poured His mercy out on us. You see, we were completely helpless. Our only help depended on His great mercy toward us.
Essentially, it’s like Paul is saying, “Look back at all that I’ve said. Look at all that God did for us: His compassion, His pardon, and His forgiveness. Look at all that He did for you. If you need to, look back over the things I taught previously. Now, with all this in mind, how could you not offer yourself to God?”
Phillips captures the passion Paul expressed about God’s mercy by stating it like this, “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him.”
So what do we do with this? You can start by thinking about all the ways God has personally shown His mercy toward you. Think about how powerless you were to do anything to earn His favor. Yet, He has shown you compassion, pardoned you, forgiven your sins, and shown you mercy.
Does this motivate you to want to offer yourself as a living sacrifice?
If it doesn’t, then ask yourself why. Maybe it’s guilt; maybe it’s a sense of shame. If it is guilt, stop and confess whatever you’ve done to God and make it right. If you’ve messed up, fess up and move on. If it’s shame, then give it to Him as well… you don’t have to live in the shadow of your past. Remember, you’re a new creation in Christ Jesus; the old is gone and the new has come. God has poured His mercy out on you!
Now offer today and all it has in store for you to the Lord. Decide to live for Him today!
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.