Today’s reading is Romans 12:1-3. Here you can find the New American Standard version. I use the NASB as my regular Bible version even though our church uses the English Standard Version (ESV). If you’re ever looking for the version that suits you best, my first question would be to ask in what country you live and with what languages you speak. Living in a country where there is generally practical freedom of religion, I have access to MANY versions. I use MANY versions for comparison. In closed countries, this is not the case. Use what you can get.
Because I’m running short on time (5 minutes indeed – are there people that can ingest the Word of God so quickly?), here’s a bit of my reflection on today’s passage.
1. Verse 1 talks about presenting ourselves to God as a sacrifice and that act being our spiritual (and the footnotes say “rational”) way to worship. I’m thinking of how often we talk about sacrifice and worship and how we’ve built industries around both. Very few have sacrificed themselves – their plans, their aspirations, their security, their happiness, their whatever. Very few worship through the making of that sacrifice. We worship through singing and creating events and mentioning Jesus’ name in mixed company. Our (my) sacrifices are pretty small relative to vs. 1.
2. Verse 2 talks about being conformed to this world. The footnote replaces the word “world” with “age.” I admit that I often get overwhelmed by the word “world.” In my mind, although logically I know this isn’t the case, I often intuit “everything” as associated with “world.” The word “age,” however, is a little more specific for me. It reminds me of Esther is Persia when she was encouraged that “for such a time as this” she was born. Verse 2 says to me “Do not be conformed to this time – this culture – this society – this status quo – this expectation.” To me, it says be courageous in your difference – in your belief – in your hope.
3. Verse 3 is pretty in depth and I won’t have the time to really dig into it here, but it strikes right at an issue I have. Looking at the verse, you may think it’s the first part, “I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.” At one time, this definitely would have been the case and sometimes still is. It is more so, however, that the last part is something that answers so many of my questions about “how can a follower of Christ” worry so much? “God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” I note that it does NOT say an EQUAL measure of faith. I’ll be honest in that I don’t understand the point of it, but then…it’s not for me to understand everything at this or that given moment of life.