Romans chapter 12 is one of favorite chapters in the Bible. I have always considered it to be one of those chapters that starts off strong, stays strong and finishes strong. Come to think of it, that’s the exhortation Paul seems to be giving to the Church. Start strong. Stay strong. Finish strong. The chapter opens with Paul exhorting the Church to present themselves as a living and holy sacrifice to the Lord. Paul says that living in such a way is the reasonable thing for Christians to do. We are urged to give ourselves wholeheartedly to the One who gave His all for us. Paul then speaks of our need to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind” so that we can do those things that are good and acceptable and lined up with God’s will, things that honor the Lord. In the ensuing verses, Paul paints a picture of what that kind of life looks like. He speaks of serving one another, loving one another, rejoicing with one another, weeping with one another and seeking to bless one another. We are even to bless those who persecute us! We are never to pay back evil with evil. We are to do our best to be at peace with all men. We are to feed and care for enemies. We are to overcome evil with good.
Wow! No wonder Paul speaks of sacrificing ourselves. To live that kind of life we have to sacrifice some of our natural reactions. We have to sacrifice our own selfish interests. We have to sacrifice our own will and our own desires and intentionally give preference to others. We have to sacrifice our desire to get even. We have to sacrifice our desire to hit back. We have to sacrifice our desire to do so many things that do not honor God. No wonder Paul speaks of the need we have to renew our mind. We can’t live a life that is holy and set apart for God through our own natural means. We can only do it supernaturally, through His power.