Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-8
I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, 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 renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. –Romans 12:1-2
How do we not conform to the world? It takes effort! A friend and I were commiserating over how bad the traffic had become in Oklahoma City in recent years. New cars apparently no longer are equipped with turn signals at least they are rarely used, the fastest driver sets the speed limit, preventive driving requires vigilance in search of people with their eyes on their cell phones rather than traffic, and road rage is a norm. Driving manners are just a simple examples of how the world encroaches on our ways of being. We get caught in it without even knowing it. The norms that seem acceptable regarding how we treat each other are frightening. Not conforming to aspects of society that fail to pass the test of love takes intentionality. It also requires a close relationship with God who guides us in discerning what is right and what is just.
Paul talks about our need to do what is good and acceptable and perfect in God’s eyes. The word perfect always concerns me. We might for a majority of our actions do or be good and acceptable to God, but what does it mean to be perfect? The Greek word translated perfect* means to be full grown, complete in all parts. It seems to me that someone full-grown: takes responsibility for his or her actions, maintains a broad and growing bank of knowledge, and strives to demonstrate in his or her life the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness (Galatians 5:22) in all that they do.
Prayer: Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more**. Amen
**First Verse of Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah by William Williams. See at http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/g/u/guideme.htm