Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Regardless of whether or not we choose to accept it, God has called us to a wild adventure—a mission! Over the course of the next three weeks, we’ll be studying Romans 12:1-2 to uncover our mission, ready ourselves for it, and truly understand what it means to join God as he sets the world right. Though not impossible, God may not call your name in the night—in true Samuel style—to tell you what your mission is. However, in seeking him with your head, heart, and hands you open yourself up to hearing what he has in store for you.
The first step in that is focusing on who God is and what he’s done for us. This week, Teaching Minister Jim Keller discusses how a logical approach and the renewal of our minds leads to transformation as we seek the mission God has in store for us.
The way of grace is what God offers us through his son Jesus. It is a way of sacrifice, forgiveness and extending love to others, and it is a call for every believer in Christ to mission. What’s your mission in life? What are you called to? How did you come to that mission?
Scripture assigns dozens of perfect characteristics to God. In Romans 12:1-2, Paul urges us specifically to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice in view of God’s mercy. Why do you think Paul chose God’s mercifulness, rather than another aspect of God’s character? What is it about God’s mercy that makes it the ideal reasoning for our true and proper worship?
Jim Keller said that destiny, or mission, isn’t something you find by seeking it. You find your destiny and mission by focusing on God. What’s your focus right now? What captivates you? How might that look different if you focused more deliberate attention on God and what he is calling you to do?
Read Ephesians 2: 1-5. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul does not mince words about what we were before Jesus—dead, disobedient and indulging in our sinful nature. In contrast, Paul reminds us of who is God is—loving and rich in mercy. What does it mean to think through what you do in terms of who God is and what he has done for you? Are there aspects of your life where you aren’t doing this enough? How would thinking this way affect your actions with regards to those aspects of your life?
Read Romans 12: 1-2. When Paul writes, “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” he is telling us to think about things until it changes us completely. Your world is the outcome of what you’re thinking about—that is your worship. We are surrounded by distractions and it can be easy to think about things that are immediately in front of us—your kids, your dirty dishes, your Instagram feed. But Paul is telling us to actively use our logic to shift our focus to God. What do you find yourself obsessing about to the point that it affects your actions and other aspects of your life? What comes up for you when you consider that whatever you are obsessing about is the object of your worship? How have you seen obsession and misplaced worship affect your life or the lives of others?
In his book, “Chasing the Lion”, Mark Batterson writes about double destiny—the notion that all of us are simultaneously called to conform to the image of Christ and are specifically created for something unique. Uniqueness is God’s gift to you and individuation is your gift back to God. How do your unique spiritual gifts support your mission? If you haven’t yet uncovered your mission, do your God-given, spiritual gifts provide any indicators as to what kind of mission God may be calling you to? (If you didn’t take the spiritual gifts quiz when we talked about it in November, you’re in luck. Here’s the link!)
Read 1 Samuel 3:1-11. Samuel was blissfully unaware of what was going on the first two times God called him. It took Eli realizing it and spelling it out for Samuel—right down to how Samuel should respond—for him to be able to receive God’s message. To hear God’s call above the noise of this crazy life, you have to be listening. Where, when, and how do you create space for God to speak to you? How can you encourage others to do the same? Have you ever heard God’s call for someone else’s life? How did you handle that?
Jim encouraged us to pause and pray with focused attention. Think through what boundaries, if any, hinder you from absolute focus on God. Set aside those things that bombard your mind and set out to overcome them with the deliberate practice of focusing on him. Commit this week to distraction-less daily focus through prayer. When you pray, say to God, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” We’ll see over the next few weeks what to do with what he reveals, but, in the meantime, being on mission begins with our mindset.