Growing up, I was in church every time the doors were open – Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday night. I gave my life to Christ at a very young age (11) but didn’t fully understand the words Paul wrote in Romans 12:1-2 (verses provided below). Yes, I did feel led to step out of my pew and walk what seemed like miles down to the alter at the front of the church and talk to the preacher that morning. I felt led to tell him I wanted to accept Christ as my savior because of all he had done for me. But “offer my body as a living sacrifice?” I didn’t know what that meant at all. As a result, in my mid-teens I fell away from God and the church completely.
By the time I was 20, I had made some really poor decisions. I never once thought of asking Christ to be a part of the decision making process….I was following the world’s ideals instead of following Him. When I went back to church as an adult (32), I realized how far I had gotten away from God and how desperately I needed Him in the decisions I was making throughout the course of my everyday life. I often wonder if I hadn’t fallen away, I probably wouldn’t have made the same mistakes…well at least not so many of them.
My commitment to follow Christ as an adult, has led me down another road entirely. About 18 years ago, as I stood in the middle of a group of people who so desired to be drawn closer to God through singing songs of worship and praise. In that moment I knew I wanted what they had. It was time for me to lay aside my own agenda and follow Christ. This realization brought me to tears…and believe me they fell like rain making my mascara run all over my face. It was ugly…but as ugly as it might have looked on the outside, Christ was beginning to work on the inside. He was transforming my mess into a beautiful new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) in Him.
He began to change me from the inside out. Sure, my friends saw the same old me but something had changed INSIDE. God was at work in the way I saw the world around me. From that day to this, He is molding me into the person he desires me to be. Just like a potter starts out with an unformed lump of clay, God has placed me on his potter’s wheel and is giving my life a “make-over” of epic proportions. He is developing (or cultivating) inner-beauty in me. The gentle and gracious kind He delights in (taken from 1 Peter 3:4-6) All I have to do is be willing to get out of the way and let him do the work.
Romans 12: 1-2 (MSG) So here’s what I (Paul) want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. 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.
Romans 12: 1-2 (NLT) And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.