“So, brothers and sisters, because of God’s mercies, I encourage you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God. This is your appropriate priestly service. Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is–what is good and pleasing and mature.” – Romans 12:1 – 2
Five things about decision-making that comes from this powerful passage of scripture:
1. When you make a sacrifice, you surrender something, such as an animal, a gift or money, and so on. To be a living sacrifice means to surrender our lives, even as we continue to live. This is greater than a sacrifice of objects or instruments, because it is not just a transaction but a whole life commitment. When we do this it sets the stage for good things.
2. “Don’t be conformed”. This is passive tense. It is something that happens to you, not something you do. The conflation of our souls and the world begins not with an active decision to choose what the world offers, but a passive ignoring of the ways of God. It is what happens to us when we don’t seek God first. We don’t choose to conform or be transformed. We only choose which power we allow to work in our lives.
3. “Be transformed”. Again with the passive tense. This is what happens when we choose God, and ask God to control our lives. Surrender is recognizing that control is an illusion, and choosing to allow God to change us, rather than the world. We have to keep making this decision over and over, throughout our lives.
4. “By the renewing of our minds”. This is the hope of surrender. When we choose to be transformed rather than conformed, we find that no matter what has happened to our lives, our minds, and our souls, we can be made whole again. Clarity can emerge from the fog. Our minds our made new.
5. The final part of this scripture is the promise of good decision-making. When we surrender and choose the Holy Spirit to be a change agent, then what we find is a clarity of thinking that allows us to know God’s will – what is good, pleasing and mature.