Romans 12 is a gold mine of spiritual nuggets. Paul tells us the real attributes and practices of "Christian Living."
We need only to turn to the Scriptures for guidance. There's no need to guess, or put it off as too confusing, too complicated, or too hard. It's clear, simple, and easy. We may not always want to believe that, but it's true. It's even easier to wander off the path of Christian living, however. We need to nourish our minds with God's word daily, go to God in prayer, and fellowship with other Christians, to keep ourselves on the path illuminated by the light of Christ.
The key word in that last sentence is "daily." It's really easy to let things go and just say to ourselves that we'll get back on track later. As an example, take the simple act of walking (of course). I missed walking this week for two or three days. This morning, back out on the trails and roads, the hills were a killer. At least twice as hard. Just from missing a couple or three days.
Our spiritual conditioning is the same. Even more so, when you consider what Paul says:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)
We are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. (Thank goodness Paul said "living.") We are to live in a way that is holy and pleasing to God. It's a high standard, but a great one. It's a great yardstick to measure our behavior at any given moment.
Is what I'm doing "holy?" It is pleasing to God? Remember, for Christians, the Holy Spirit is indwelling. That's pretty holy! How often, though, do we forget that fact? Before doing something that in the back (or front) of your mind you know is wrong, get into the habit of asking yourself "is this holy?" . . . "would this be pleasing to God?"
With this little test, how much less frequently would each of us stray from the path of true Christian living? How much faster would we get back on that path, when we did stumble off? Over time, how much would applying this standard to our activities transform us into the living sacrifices of which Paul speaks? How much would that please God?
Paul calls the offering of our bodies as living sacrifices our "spiritual acts of worship." Think about that. Instead of worshipping only once or twice a week in church, we are worshipping 24/7 if we are acting in ways that are holy and pleasing to God. How many blessings will that bring into our lives? An abundance!
Footnote: Ok, I admit that maintaining ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God may not be "easy." But I don't believe it's impossibly hard, either. Maybe it's medium. But here's the thing: when we look at the benefits and blessings, the renewal and transformation, and the impact on others, it becomes easier - especially when God is with us, encouraging us, lifting us up, and helping us soar like eagles.