1 Consequently, I counsel you, brothers, since God has shown his mercy to you in many ways, to present your bodies as a sacrifice–alive, holy, and pleasing to God–which is the logical way for you to worship him. 2 Do not allow yourself to be conformed to this present age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discover what God wants–the good and well-pleasing and perfect thing. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think of yourself as more important than you ought to think, but to think with restrained discernment, as God has given to each of you a measure of faith. 4 Because just as in one body we have many parts, and not all the parts serve the same function, 5 so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are parts who belong to one another.
discovering what God wants
For the Gentile Christian in Rome, discovering what his God wanted used to be a matter of killing the right sacrifice, and hoping for the best. For the Christian who came to Christ from Judaism, discovering what God wanted meant studying the Torah.
Now, says Paul, both groups have to stop thinking like that. God doesn’t want a dead sacrifice, he wants a living one. Finding out what he wants is not going to mean just burying oneself in a text. It is going to take something even harder. The Holy Spirit has empowered everyone in the body with a certain ministry – a set of spiritual gifts meant to manifest God’s presence and reveal what he wants. So, Christians had to renew their minds – not just as individuals, but as a body. Christ is going to speak and work through the whole body, and each part had to cooperate.
As much as we modern evangelicals think we have conquered this concept, the fact is we are still a long way from it. We still pretty much rely on one person, or a small group to be the body of Christ for us. It is no wonder that those chosen few often wind up arrogant and corrupted. Paul warned the Romans to concentrate on body ministry rather than leader development. We need to learn how to do the same thing.
LORD, teach us how to think about ourselves and our ministries with restrained discernment. We want to stop regarding ourselves as more important than the others in your body.