All of us like something new – new dress, new house, new vehicles, etc. We are excited about those things in the initial stage. These things become old after sometimes and we want to change them. Paul in Rom 12: 1-8 talks about one thing that will never become old. That is the NEW LIFE that Christ brings. The life that Jesus brings is newer everyday! In order to possess this new life, there must be a total change in our whole life. To be something new, there cannot be anything of old. It is like the old has gone, and the new has come (2 Co.5: 17). Only in Christ we can have this new life. How to possess this new life? Paul talks about four ways that we can possess this new life.
1. We can possess this new life by offering our bodies as living sacrifices (v.1):
We must offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Here is a decision to glorify God with our body. In the new life that Christ brings, we cannot fulfill the desire of the flesh, but only bear the fruit of the Spirit. By presenting of our bodies to God, we will be able to avoid the sins that are committed with or against the bodies. It will also help us to use our bodies in the service of God so as to glorify God. So we must surrender our bodies to God to possess this new life in Christ. When we offer our bodies to God, His Spirit will start dwelling in us. Thus our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Co.3: 16). We are not supposed to defile or abuse our body (1Co.3: 17). Here is a call to live holy.
2. We can possess this new life by renewing our mind (v.2):
We must renew of our mind. One translation says, ?Let God change the way you think.? This is offering our mind to God. There comes a change in our thinking. We need to think the way God thinks. We must have ?the mind of Christ.? A person with the mind of Christ will see things the way God sees and not the way people see. Then we will be able to see and evaluate everything from God?s perspective. When we perceive our present life and future plans from God?s perspective, specifically in the light of God?s Word, we will be able to know God?s will in it. A change in our thinking is an absolute requirement to possess this new life in Christ.
3. We can possess this new life by offering our self/being to God (v. 3):
V. 3 says, ??Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment?? This is offering our ?self?/ ?being? to God. There occurs a change in our self-understanding. A change in my understanding about myself ? ?Who I am.? Before I accepted Christ, ?I thought I was somebody ? I am better than others.? Now I consider others better than myself (Phil 2:3). We do not think highly of us. Now we do not compare ourselves with others in regards to the amount of faith/number of talents/ use of gifts/ amount of blessings, etc. A self-evaluation/ a self-criticism in daily life is what we need to possess this new life in Christ.
4. We can possess this new life by offering our service to God.
We must be aware of our responsibilities in the body of Christ. We must know our function in the body of Christ? There must be a change in our function. All of us do not have the same function in the church. One may do a greater job and the other may do a smaller one. A person who is not transformed to the likeness of Christ will always think of his position highly before others. Such a person thinks his or her role is important and greater than others. Since we received this new life in Christ, we think that all are one in Christ and belong to each other. Functional differences are there, but in our being we are equal in the sight of God. All of us are equally important to God. It is a call for unity and equality (V.5). This is an attitude to serve cheerfully and joyfully. Here we offer our service to God. In the old state of our life, we wanted to be served by others, but in the new life that is brought by Christ, we want to serve one another. Earlier we did it with grumbling and murmuring, but now we do it faithfully, joyfully, cheerfully, humbly and according to the grace given to us. There happens a change in our attitude. We should never think that one gift is greater than the other. We must exercise them in proportion to our faith ? it simply means that we should not expect everyone to do in the same measure, but differently. We must do it according to our enabling ? it simply means that we should do our best, according to one?s capacity. We must do it generously ? simply means liberally, without any reservation and partiality. We must do it diligently ? simply means with hard working and painstaking, and not with carelessness. And finally, we must do it cheerfully ? willingly and joyfully and not with grumbling and murmuring. So we need a change in our attitude in the service of God.
May the Lord help us to enjoy this new life every day of this New Year!
Rev. Mathew Philip