Romans 12:1-5 gives us four clear markers on the road to understanding and discovering our ministry. I have placed in bold italics these markers in this passage. I see these as important signposts in our journey toward ministry.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
1st, PRESENTATION - present yourself fully to God. Our greatest act of worship is the presentation of all we are to Christ. He is the potter, we are the clay. He is the vine, we are the branches. We present ourselves to Him. Call it dedication, surrender, whatever you choose. But it is an act of trust whereby you place your life in His hands.
2nd, TRANSFORMATION - Our minds must be renewed. Phillips translates verse 2, "Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold but let God re-mold you from within". Our problem is that we don't think rightly. We have a natural mindset that is contrary to serving and giving. We want it our way. My will be done!
Before we can become servants we must think like a servant. The mind of Christ is a servant mind. A servant is not servile, with no power of choice or decision making. He is not a mindless doormat who crawls around feeling inferior to others. No! He simply knows who he is. He knows who his master is. She serves for an audience of one. This attitude of Christ is a work of God from the inside-out. He transforms our selfish attitude into a servant attitude. We suddenly become excited about making other people successful. We begin to realize that when we make others successful we find our own success.
3rd, EVALUATION - Again, Phillips translates verse 3, "Don't cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith God has given to you." This month we will help each other do just that. Think soberly and sanely about our strengths and weaknesses. Calvin began his Institutes with this statement: "Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God". Humility is not denying your strengths. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses. Some of you are good with your hands. Some are good with words. Some of you are good with numbers. Some are good with formulating and executing plans. Some of you are good with people. Some are good with projects.
4th COOPERATION - In verses 4 and 5 Paul uses the analogy of the body to show us these things: Every member is needed. Every member is important. Every member is unique. Every member performs a vital function. Every member needs the other members.
Like a body, we are better together. This one thought can transform an attitude of selfish independence or even worse co-dependance into a mature inter-dependance.
In his grip of grace,