Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

- Romans 12:1-8

The New Mindset

As I sit down to write this blog, I keep thinking about how I could write an entire blog for each verse of this passage. It is rich with truth, clarity and words that work to spur one forward in faith. In verse 1, Paul starts by taking "worship" out of the box we often put it it labeled "singing and dancing" and redefines "true worship" as surrender. He then reminds us that a significant portion of our inheritance as children of God is that we no longer are stuck in old, worldly mindsets but that our minds are transformed by the reality of Jesus and the truth that life with Him offers. He points out that as we submit our mind to Jesus for renewal, that out of a new mindset, we will more clearly discern God's will.

Access Through Humility

In the next section, Paul outlines how God desires for us to respond when he gives us a spiritual gift. His first point is incredibly important: Paul instructs us that when we receive a gift from God to respond in humility. Paul understands the reality that the gifts we receive from God have nothing to do with us, and everything to do with God and the way He wants reveal His love to people. We do not do anything to earn a gift - God gives us access to the gifts as an expression of His love and for the purpose of advancing His kingdom. So, Paul is reminding us to have perspective, that all the glory belongs to God and therefore our response when God invites us to partner with him should be humility. Out of this place of humility, our practical response to receiving a gift from God should be to be faithful to give it away. Paul outlines this simply and clearly at the end of the passage, encouraging us that while it will look different for each member of the body, that we are called to respond by being faithful to freely give.

We're Meant For Abundance

Every truth that Paul outlines in this passage has to do with aligning our perspective with God's about the life that we have gained as followers of Christ. This matters because our perspective on who God is, what He calls us to and why he calls us to it impacts everything about who we are and how we live. It is incredibly important to align our perspective with kingdom perspective: it is where we are called to live from as children of God. Surrender, a mind transformed by truth, humility, faithfulness - these are all components of our inheritance as children of God. As we shift our perspective and line up with a kingdom mindset, we are able to dive deeper into the abundant life God offers and we are able to more effectively advance His kingdom as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Imperfect Beginning to the Perfecting Process

I encourage you to dig deeply into each verse and ask God what He is trying to teach you specifically in this season of life, where you are in your walk with Him. Ask Him to show you the places where you are conformed to the thinking of the world and invite him to renew your mind. Don't condemn yourself because your mind isn't fully renewed yet - the desire to see your mind renewed is the perfect beginning.

God - Thank you for your word. Thank you for the gift of truth written in a book for me to receive more of you. I pray that you would highlight the pieces of my life where my perspective does not line up with yours and shift my mindset. Lead me into more truth. Lead me into kingdom perspective. Thank you God.

- Megan McGarrah