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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.
Romans 12:2, NIV
Grant us your Spirit, Lord our God, that we may discern your good, acceptable, and perfect will. Give us joy in fighting on your side, so that what is good, acceptable, and perfect may be given to the world. Wherever we are and whatever work we do, give us zeal to serve you and be guided by you so that your will may be done and your kingdom come, so that already today we may find happiness even though only in hope. Amen.
Romans 12 is the twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle, while he was in Corinth in the mid 50s CE, with the help of an amanuensis (secretary), Tertius, who adds his own greeting in Romans 16:22: “I, Tertius, who wrote down this letter, greet you in the Lord.”
Romans 12:1–2 answers the question, ''How should we respond to God's great mercy to us?'' The answer is to become living, breathing sacrifices, using our lives up in service to God as an ongoing act of worship. That's what makes sense. This is not a means to earn salvation, but the natural response we should have to being saved. To do this, we will need to break free from the me-first pattern of the world and have our minds changed in order to be able to understand what God wants. Then we will know how to live.
In Romans 12, Paul describes the worship of our God as becoming living sacrifices to our God, giving up seeking what we want from life and learning to know and serve what God wants. That begins with using our spiritual gifts to serve each other in the church. Paul's list of commands describes a lifestyle of setting ourselves aside. Our goal as Christians is to love and lift each other up. We must focus our expectation on eternity and wait with patience and prayer for our Father to provide. We must refuse to sink to evil's level, giving good to those who harm us instead of revenge.
"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"
Paul is urging Christians to respond to God's mercy, His forgiveness of our sin, and His inclusion of us in His family. The appropriate reaction would be offering to Him our entire lives as a form of living, breathing sacrifice.
Next, Paul writes that we must no longer be conformed to the world. The word "world" is often used in the New Testament to refer to the "world system," or the way that every human being lives by default. John described this worldly way of living as "the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life" (1 John 2:16:For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.). By instinct, all of us chase those things in pursuit of happiness and meaning.
Paul tells us to abandon the chase for pleasure, possessions, and status—to stop living like everyone else. Instead, he urges us to be transformed from the inside out. Specifically, he writes that we must be changed in how we think, to have our minds renewed so that we can begin to understand God's will for our lives.
God may continue to provide us with pleasure, possessions, and status in various forms, but he urges us to learn how to look at life with a new question: What does God want for me? What is truly a good, acceptable, and perfect use of my life for His purposes and not just for my own?
Conversion of St. Paul by Jason Jenicke
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