Love, Joy, Peace...
It Is Only Reasonable

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(By Pastor Larry Burkholder)

Romans 12:1-3

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

To yield completely to God is "reasonable" for the born-again Christian.  This is the gist of Romans 12:1.  Anything less from a Christian is a heart of thanklessness and not thankfulness.

There is a beautifully written chorus we as teenagers used to sing which reads, "After all He's done for me, After all He's done for me, How can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely, after all He's done for me."  Yes, this is the way to live "reasonably" for Him.

Then the result of such "reasonable" living is found in Romans 12:1b which reads: ...that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service."  We've a goal here: To become CONFORMED to and to perform (live out) the will of God.  Do you recall another old chorus sung multiple times?  ''To be used of God is my desire"?  When our lives are lived out scripturally, they will be used of God!

Romans 12:2,3 reveal to us that if we don't believe and live accordingly, we will become more and more filled with an inordinate amount of self-esteem which causes us to conform to our world's indoctrination.  This is what draws us away from our "first love" of which our Lord indicted a church in Revelation 2:4.  Christians who have done this need to realize the urgency of being brought back to submission to their Lord ... their "first love"!

When Christians fail to do this ''...we fall for the delusion that happiness can be found by seeking after what we want rather than what the Lord wants for us, then we will never fulfill our "reasonable service." (Mark H. Reynolds)

Paul used a word in 12:1 that means something that is not emphasized enough today.  It is the word "beseech" which means "I beg of you."  This is a pleading of the man of God to do what the will of God is for our lives.  And I like to define the word "conform" to mean "blend right in without being noticed" in the sense of being outlandish or laughable by others.  We are not to do this to be noticed but rather, to be faithful to our Lord.

Also, presenting ourselves ''a living sacrifice" can and should not be done by force or coerciveness.  We should all love our Lord to such a degree that to give ourselves to doing what He wants us to do and be should be as normal or natural as breathing is to our physical bodies.

One evidence of surrendering ourselves to be a "living sacrifice" is we no longer have a spirit of selfishness but a spirit of selflessness.  Believe it or not we become so joyful and a real blessing to others.  And another benefit is that our witness to the lost around us is emboldened or increased with correctness.  Our impact will become phenomenal!

Note the caution to us all as Christians found in 12:3: "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, NOT TO THINK OF HIMSELF MORE HIGHLY THAN HE OUGHT TO THINK; BUT TO THINK SOBERLY, ACCORDING AS GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH."

Ponder this: Withholding from God what is rightly His, or rightly due Him alone, is robbing us of whatever His best is for our lives and ministry.

"Happiness is to know the Saviour, Living a life within His favor, Having a change in my behavior, Happiness is the Lord."  Yes, another chorus which I was introduced to many 
years ago when pastoring in Pennsylvania.

CONCLUSION: It took me several years of "hard knocks" on a spiritual level to learn the truths of these three verses in Romans 12.  Finally in July (late in the month), about 6 years after I was saved while a counsellor in a Christian camp in eastern Pennsylvania, our Lord so worked in my heart that I that very night committed my life to be used for His glory and honor.  As I returned to my cabin of 
boys, I noticed that two of them were in tears.  They were all standing in the doorway awaiting my return.  I asked: "What is wrong?"  One responded with: ''We want to be saved!"  That night I led all of them that were standing at the door to the Lord.  What a blessing!  It was a confirmation to me right away that What I decided to do about 10 minutes before returning to the cabin was the "reasonable service" I was to render.  Had they come to me that evening before, I more than likely could not have led them to the Lord.  I would have had to refer them to go to the counsellor at the next cabin and ask him.  Saved?  Yes!  Useful?  NO!  But it all ended that night late in July 1969.  AMEN? AMEN!!

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