This morning was another one of those mornings. I had a lot on my mind and really needed to hear from the Lord. I set my alarm moderately early (considering we were up pretty late the night before) and read through four or five passages that were very much applicable to what was on my mind and just asked the Lord to show me what He wanted me to get from His Word. Well, you know... He is in the business of doing just that and I found myself very encouraged through the Word. One of the passages I read was Romans 12. Verses 1-2 and 9-13 jumped out at me.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect... Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
We prove, or demonstrate what the will of God is by letting Him renew our minds. When God is at the center of our attention, we think the things that He would have us think. When we think the things that He would have us think, we do the things that He would have us do. By this, we "test" His will to see just how perfect it really us. It goes along with the concept of tasting and seeing that the Lord is good. It is not enough to stand and look from the outside. He must change us from the inside out so that we experience His goodness as we trust and obey Him. Paul gives us some specific ways in which we can do this in verses 9-13... to be devoted to one another in brotherly love--this is pure undefiled love and he explains further what that looks like: giving preference to one another (seeing others as more important than ourselves), being diligent and literally "boiling hot" in the way we serve the Lord, rejoicing in hope (the eternal hope we have in Christ), persevering under pressure and opposition, devoted to prayer (recognizing that we are dependent on Him for all things), meeting the needs of the saints (being the hands and feet of Jesus), and practicing hospitality (specifically to those that are strangers).
May God conform us more into His image this Christmas as we focus on Him and let Him change our hearts through His Word. May He give us a tender heart that needs only the slightest nudge to run after Him without looking back. May He grant opportunities to apply His Word and help us to see and act on those opportunities. And may He give us the humility to come before Him in fervent prayer for all things.