So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Think about what means the most to you: your wedding, the birth of your child, a family reunion, a time when you feel love. On my 60th birthday, my husband gave me a weekend at a resort hotel with all of my children. We’re fortunate to have a daughter in the hotel business. We had an amazing time, including our own Gator party in the concierge lounge. The Gators even cooperated by winning against Ole Miss. We played games, and it was one of the most fun times, filled with love, that I’ve ever had.
My actual 60th birthday was in the middle of the week. My husband took me to a restaurant, and led me toward a big round table with crazy people waving and holding their arms out. I stared right through them wondering if my husband had picked out a secluded, romantic table. When it finally hit me that those crazy people were my children and their significant others, it took me awhile to stop crying with joy. I’m not usually big on surprises, but my children traveled from 2 to 4 hours one way, taking time off work and returning home late, to have dinner with me. It was an incredible sacrifice of time, especially since we were also celebrating the next weekend.
It also makes God happy when we sacrifice our time and lives to Him. Because of His love for us, God shows us incredible mercy by adopting us as His children and giving us righteousness and eternal life with Him. Paul is telling us to return his love by offering our lives to Him with sacrifice, worship, and by changing our thinking.
When we come to the realization that we need Jesus as our Savior, God promises that we’ll receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit connects with our own spirits and then our way of thinking changes. We are no longer dependent on empowering ourselves by making sure we get everything we’re entitled to, by climbing the corporate ladder, by making friends who can help us, and by getting the top salary in our fields. We seek dependence on God’s power and His connections to do His will. We live to please God and accept the opportunities He provides for us.