Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. (NIV)
Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (MSG)
What is meant by “sober judgment”?
How are we to understand ourselves?
Paul urges us to be sober minded because transformation, renewal of mind, and living restored to God’s design – it is God who brings it all to us. We are called to live fulfilling God’s purpose. This is only possible because the “all” that God has brought to us is all of Himself – and this is His redemptive love!
When we have God’s mind increasing in us, we can view the world through His perspective of redemptive love and learn how to love, making us more fully human as God designed. How great is His mercy!
Let’s respond by offering all of who we are to God, declaring that He alone is worthy!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your redemptive love. Help us to live in true freedom – loving you and leading others to your redemptive love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Listen and worship to the song, “Is He Worthy?” (click here)
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (NIV)
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (MSG)
Titus 3:5 (NIV) He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…
Building our lives on God’s mercy is about real transformation toward thinking and living in God’s design. It is dependent on whether our minds are engaged in an ongoing process of renewal by the Holy Spirit. God gave us a whole new pattern of life and living, therefore our minds must be renewed and not simply readjusted. We don’t have to yield to or live stuck and defeated by negative thoughts. Our minds can be renewed to think what God wants, producing a transformed life marked by freedom and fruitfulness.
In today’s verses:
What is our part in the renewal process of our mind?
What is God’s part?
Prayer: Lord, thank you! I do not have to live stuck and defeated by negative thoughts. I welcome your Holy Spirit to renew my mind as I fix my thoughts on your Word that leads to life and peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Romans 12:1a (NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy…
There is a whole biblical worldview in the chapters preceding Romans 12 to which Apostle Paul refers that we must first have, embrace and remember – and that is God’s mercy. God’s mercy is every blessing in salvation – eternal divine love, grace, peace with God, kindness leading to repentance, forgiveness, resurrection, hope – just to name a few.
The first step to resetting our thought life begins with the call of Romans 12:1 to build our lives on God’s mercy. How do we build? Know the truth (thoughts) and practice it (obedience) – this produces wise living.
“Wisdom is the understanding of what God would have us do and then doing it, what God would have us think and then thinking it…A believer’s wisdom is found first in the acknowledgment of true wisdom and then in obedience. This is decisive, for there is a great breakdown between belief and behavior, knowing and doing. The heart of wisdom is their union, as is the heart of true knowledge.” (White, A Mind for God)
Does the Word of God determine what/how you think?
Are you building your life on God’s mercy?
Today, let’s turn to God and offer our minds to Him, committing to actively take in God’s Word.
Prayer: Lord, I want to think your truth and obey your ways. Please help me as I commit to actively take in your Word and build a wise life on your mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Listen and worship with the song, “Build My Life” (click here)
Romans 12:2a (NIV) – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Ephesians 4:23 (NLT) – …let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.
Philippians 4:8 (NLT) – And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
The Apostle Paul deeply understood how critically connected our thought life is to our faith life, and that transformation is dependent on the renewal of our minds by the Spirit.
“The purpose of spiritual disciplines is the total transformation of the person. They aim at replacing old destructive habits of thought with new life-giving habits…The discipline of study is the primary vehicle to bring us to “think about these things.” …Good feelings will not free us…Without a knowledge of the truth, we will not be free.” (Foster, Celebration of Discipline)
To begin the discipline of study, we can employ four steps (Foster):
– Repetition(R) keeps us in a specific direction
– Concentration(C) focuses our attention
– Comprehension(C) defines the truth
– Reflection(R) identifies the significance of the truth
And these steps must all be wrapped in humility(H).
Let’s apply this to Romans 12:2 – say it several times, focus on each phrase, ask God to help you understand it from His perspective.
Prayer: Lord, please fill me with your Spirit of revelation to know your truth and to renew my mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
1 In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
David’s conviction was “that a man must live by the help of God, not by his wits,” a view of life his enemies despised as naïve. (Kidner, Psalms 1-72)
David enters the help of God by placing his trust in Him. The help of God is His truth wrapped in His great mercy and love. David keeps on trusting God by asking for His help.
What words and thoughts are repeated throughout?
By God’s design, we can think and learn God’ truth. What does David ask for?
In what specific ways does God help us?
We can ask God to help us in the same ways that David asked.
Prayer: Lord, I want to learn your ways. Please help me to humbly desire and trust the truth of your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.