The world has a messed up definition of love. Some churches allow the world to define love and then fit in with the world in how it loves. This is wrong. Love needs to coordinate with truth. But we people do weird things. Sometimes we allow another person or group’s wrong behavior to influence our behavior. So instead of living according to biblical principles, we live in a way to avoid looking like the wrong ones. Avoiding error does not mean we live in holiness. To live in holiness we need to live according to God’s character.
Many of us understand the need for spiritual disciplines. Often men or women struggling with sin will acknowledge the need to spend more time reading God’s Word and praying. If I had to guess, I’d say 95% of Christians believe these to be essential spiritual disciplines. Romans 12:1-2 says, “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. 2 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.”
Paul exhorts the congregation to renew their mind, be in a state of learning and imitating Christ because it causes growth while honoring God (worship). So naturally starting here with “reading the Bible and praying more” seems sufficient. However, this is short sighted. If I had to guess, I’d say 90% of Christians do not realize “learning, investing in and serving other people in love” is as important of a spiritual discipline as growing in knowledge.
Mind and Actions Worships Christ
If you look at Romans 12, the chapter seems to indicate what it means to renew our mind and present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice. In fact, it might suffice to read Romans 12:1-2 as a thesis or summary to the entire chapter. Imagine asking Paul, what kind of mind renewal do we need and what kind of actions should this produce?
The rest of the chapter is his answer. Romans 12:3-8 emphasizes humility — we need to see everyone as important. Our holy sacrifice and God’s will would be undermined if we see “me” as super important, more so than others. In fact, to be selfish undermines ministry. Ministry serves other people Christ, building them up to be more like Him, patiently encouraging others to follow Him. It helps others emotionally, mentally, physically, and any way necessary to edify. To view me as most important is to be selfish or inward focused and cannot cooperate with ministry.