Romans 12:1 tells us that we should “present our bodies [as] a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God”. Simply put, we are called to live a life that honors God, but how do we do that?
How to Live a Life That Honors God
I love the fact that the Bible did not leave us to flounder for the answer on our own. Paul gives us the answer in the very next verse. We are able to live a life that honors God when we follow the instructions in Romans 12:2:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2 NKJV).
If you missed the post explaining what it means to not conform to the world, you should read that first. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Okay, so let’s talk about the next two steps that explain what it means to live a life that pleases God.
What does it mean to be transformed by the renewing of your mind?
The best way to describe transformation is to imagine a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. That not-so-pretty worm goes through an amazing process that changes it into a beautiful butterfly.
The trick is, the butterfly has to fight its way out of the cocoon. If it doesn’t, it won’t fly because its wings will not be strong enough.
Most of the organs of the caterpillar breakdown before the butterfly pushes its way out of the cocoon. We can liken this process to us renewing our mind.
Effort is required.
Transformation requires effort. Even the caterpillar has to do some work if it wants to be changed into a butterfly. #livingforGod #hebrews12endurance #betransformed Click To Tweet
Dictionary.com defines renew as: ‘give fresh life or strength to’. We can’t give “fresh life” to something by doing things the way we have always done them.
Change is required.
It is often said that the mind is the battleground for spiritual warfare. Satan campaigns for supremacy in our thoughts and dominance in our minds. He competes for our attention by throwing pretty, flashy things in our paths. He wants us to crave more and more the things of the world.
Related: I Peter 2:2
Jesus, on the other hand, encourages us to take our burdens to Him and He will give us rest. Not just a temporary break from things. No, Jesus offers us a lifestyle change.
The process of renewing the mind is a radical one. It involves walking away from things – and people – we thought we were permanently attached to. It may involve doing things that scare us to tears.
Prove The Will Of God
In this simple phrase, we learn several things about God:
- He is good
- He is acceptable
- He is perfect
- His will is all of those things
But for me, the most interesting thing in the phrase “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”, is the word prove.
The original Greek word is dokimazō. It could have been translated:
a) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
b) to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.
But the definition is not what excites me. No, I’m excited about the part of speech. You see, dokimazō is verb. When I confirmed with my son (as if you don’t do it too) – a verb is an action word. That means it’s an action that we’re supposed to take…
God wants us to test Him. He wants to prove to us that His will is perfect.God wants us to test Him. He wants to prove to us that His will is perfect. #hebrews12endurance #tryGod Click To Tweet
Three Ways to Live A Life That Honors God
Living a life that honors God comes down to one simple thing: proving the will of God. But even in that God did not leave us to figure it out for ourselves, we have Jesus’ example. Here are three things that Jesus did to confirm that His Father’s will was perfect:
1. He spent time in prayer – the gospel writers are united in this account: Jesus prayed often.
He prayed early in the mornings (Mark 1:35).
He prayed in solitary spaces (Luke 5:16).
He prayed in view of His friends (Luke 9:28, Matthew 26:36).
He prayed aloud (Luke 11:1).
Sometimes, He even prayed all night (Luke 6:12).
Jesus taught His disciples to pray persistently and constantly (Luke 18:1).
He prayed for His friends (John 17:6, Luke 22:32) and for people He did not know (John 17:20).
He prayed believing that He could have what He asked for (John 11:22).
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2. He spent time alone with God – Jesus a lot of time by Himself in communion with His Father. From Him we learn:
The time with God should be a priority (Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35).
Sometimes doing so means walking away from everyone else (Matthew 14:23).
We spend time with God to find out His will for us, not to impose our will on Him (Matthew 26:39,42).
3. He studied the Word of God – the Bible gives us no clues as to how Jesus learned what was written in the Bible as it existed then. But we do know that He was familiar with the law of Moses and the writings of the prophets. From Him, we learn that:
We should be able to defend and intelligently discuss what we believe (Luke 2:46).
We should be willing to share our knowledge with those who don’t understand (John 8:2, Matthew 21:23, Mark 12:35)
An accurate understanding of Scripture will help us to withstand the attacks of Satan (Luke 4:1-12).
While He was on earth, Jesus spent much time in prayer as He eagerly sought to prove the perfect will of God. He was a Bible scholar. He knew what the Word of God said, that’s why He was able to quote it and unlock the meaning to those who were in His presence.
How do we live a life that honors God? We follow the example of Christ. How are you living a life that pleases God?
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