>Friday morning started out like any other — I had finished my devotions and now with my coffee made, and my textbooks laid out across the table, I was ready to get started on school work. I had the entire day in front of me to write papers and take quizzes and meet deadlines
But, not fifteen minutes later, I was standing stone-still, gaping in complete shock at my laptop lying broken on the ground. In a flurried moment, the cord had caught on the edge of the table and sent the computer flying to a heavy thud on the hardwood floor. Pieces I didn’t no existed scattered forlornly at my feet. Later, I discovered the damage requires serious and costly renovation.
All of Friday, my thoughts were many, and none of them, I’m afraid, were very pretty. The whole rest of the day, I felt angry, impatient, and sorry for myself. My ugly thoughts built up like an inner volcano that distorted my perception of any display of kindness shown to me and kept me to preoccupied to think of anyone but myself. I was miserably unpleasant and sulky.
It wasn’t till the end of the day that I remembered the verses I had read that morning from Romans 12: 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. 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.
At that moment, the renewal of my defective mind became more important than the restoration of my computer. There is nothing like a Word of God to straighten out my priorities.
“If you long to break loose from conformity to the world, if you long to be transformed and new from the inside out, if you long to be free from mere duty-driven Christianity and do what you love to do because what you love to do is what you ought to do, if you long to offer up your body as a living sacrifice so that your whole life becomes a spiritual act of worship and displays the worth of Christ above the worth of the world, then give yourself with all your might to pursuing this—the renewal of your mind. Because the Bible says, this is the key to transformation” (John Piper)
Sacrifice is the reasonable response to God’s mercies. What is a little inconvenience on my part for the One who hung on the Cross for my behalf? When I meditate on what the Lord has given me, I realize I only truly worship when I lay my entire self upon the altar of sacrifice. Yielding, obedience, willingness. This is spirit of spiritual worship. This is the mind the Lord transforms.
I spent some time Friday night in prayer, confessing my unholy thoughts and selfish preoccupations and asking the Lord to replace them with thoughts that were honorable, just, pure, and lovely (Philippians 4:8). I was pleading for a transformation — a metamorphosis from my flesh to His image.
At times, the ugliness of my sin can be as discouraging as a computer that doesn’t function. But because I am a recipient of the mercies of God, I am not a slave to sin. The agent of change, the Holy Spirit, is alive in me, working my sanctification. It is because of His inner redemption that I grieve over my sin and long for more manifestation of His righteousness in my life.
It is sanctification in the nitty gritty of life that convinces me of the mercies of God. And because of His mercy, I sacrifice; and as I sacrifice, I become more aware of His Holy Spirit residing in me. Slowly, and gently, I am being renewed. His desires become mine, my thoughts are shaped by His. I learn to hate what He hates and grow in love for what He loves. Now my heart, overwhelmed by grace, rejoices in being a living sacrifice as an act of spiritual worship.
Take that, hard-drive-server-connector-battery-whatchamacallit. My mind is not subject to your fallibility or my own. Restoration is as simple as plugging into the grace of God.