Transformational Leaders Are Living Sacrifices
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As leaders of God’s Church in all its cultural spheres, we are on a journey together growing and deepening ourselves in Christ, moving from a Church that is planted in mission to a church that is rooted on our land and in this world for the sake of Christ.
Our heart is to be leaders who are rooted in the love of Christ, with every person a worshipper whose life is consumed with the beauty and glory of Christ so much so that His supremacy and worship are our chief concerns.
These verses -- Romans 12.1,2 -- are, for many people, a guidepost, a life verse or a grand summation of what it means to a follower of Jesus. In reality though, these verses are not a summary at all, rather, they are an introduction to a new set of concepts.
Paul is beginning a section of application in this part of Romans that is linked to the rest of what he has previously written. The apostle has spent the former eleven chapters explaining the spiritual definitions and implications of the Gospel. Particularly, in chapters 9-11 of Romans, Paul has been drawing the readers’ minds to an explosion of huge thought process and engagement. Paul says the Gospel is for everyone, Jews and Gentiles and furthermore, the Gospel is wrapped up in God and God’s plans are coming to pass and these plans are a mystery to humans, but God is God and God will do whatever He wants to do and His doing will always result in His greater glory which is good for humans because it is only in an expanding glory of God that we can ever experience His love, which is His heart for us.
Paul ends this mind-blowing section with:
“Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor? Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.”
Remembering that there are no chapter breaks in Paul’s letter, notice the correlation between God’s mind, and the call in verse one and two of chapter twelve to the mind of the believer. God’s mind is far above, unsearchable, inscrutable, unknowable, containing all things everywhere for all time.
The natural person’s mind is old and broken, incapable of accessing and receiving the mind of the Lord. That is why the call is to renew. When Paul pictures a life that is transformed by the mind of Christ, he calls upon the imagination of his readers:
Living sacrifices…that’s what you should be.
Don’t be crammed into the world’s mold.
Be transformed…metamorphosis like a butterfly.
A new species.
"Picture yourself like this," God says. "See yourself like this. Think of yourself in this way. When you look at you, when you look at Me, see you and Me the way I see you and Me."
Your Maker says to you today, “I made you. I created you. You are mine, so come and die and become alive again…a living sacrifice. And by this you worship Me.
"See yourself like I see you. Think like me, with the new mind I’ve put in you. You are transformed, not conformed."