In View of God's Mercy
Updated: May 22, 2018
I love the book of Romans! In the first 11 chapters of this book Paul is laying out the theology of the church. He’s revealing all the wonderful mercies of God! But then, chapter 12 comes along, and it’s as if Paul takes a deep breath and says, “Now, in light of all God has done, here is how we should live out our faith and affection toward God and each other.”
Romans 12 is full of little gems to be dug up. This chapter is so rich and full of wisdom that you can literally spend hours and hours gleaning from the words coming off the pages, and I highly suggest you do just that! But today, I want to focus on one passage in this chapter that has been and still is life changing for me.
“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. 2 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.
Let’s dig a little deeper. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Paul is giving us a warning and remedy all in one sentence. Warning: don’t be like the world. Remedy: be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Transformation comes by the renewing of the mind, or changing the way you think. Therefore, how do you suppose one becomes like the world to begin with? It’s simple...
Every action we take begins with a thought in the mind.
We can choose to align our thoughts with the ways of the world or with the mind of Christ.
Most of us have learned thought patterns that have developed since early childhood. If we have unhealthy thought patterns, it takes intense and purposeful work to break off the old ways of thinking. If we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, then we have to have a new way of thinking. And Paul gives us that method in Romans 12:1. “In view of God’s mercy…” You see, when we begin to align our thought life with the ways of God and in light of Who He is, we can literally change our patterns of thinking.
How we choose to conduct our thought life is what makes us the people we are. If we have a thought of anger toward someone and we do not deal with that thought “in view of God’s mercy” toward us, that thought will begin to grow and expand and become a very ugly thing. When we allow these things to grow out of control, what we are really doing is harboring unforgiveness. Once unforgiveness is embedded in the heart, anger can grow to resentment and hate. It’s an ugly cancer to the soul and it can feel as if nothing can break the cycle. But THAT thought is a lie! We CAN break the cycle! Praise God!
If I am feeling insecure in a relationship, I may receive someone’s interaction with me as rude and I may feel rejected. In reality, they may be having a really rough day and their behavior has nothing to do with me at all. If that interaction takes place, I can allow that thing to sit on me and ruin my day and many days to come, or... I can fight the thoughts and feelings off “in light of God’s mercy.” I can choose to pray for that person to be blessed. I can speak blessing over them. I can offer to pray for them. I can choose to see myself the way God sees me... His beloved child!
All of action begins with a thought!
How are you going to choose to think today? Can I make a suggestion? Begin aligning your thoughts with the mind of Christ. When you view your circumstance in light of God’s mercies, you will very quickly watch your world become much brighter!