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. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-- his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:1-3
In high school and college I made the commitment of my life for full time Christian service. It was a thought-through, eager, deliberate decision that my life would not be my own. I anticipated the lives I could influence – the difference I could make (with God’s help, of course).
Somehow I didn’t really think that much about the other side of the coin - the problems that are a part of leadership. The weight of responsibility sometimes feels like a burden. I didn’t know the other side of the coin, because I hadn’t been there.
But - I’m confessing here - I’ve been on the other side of that coin in the last six years. Not the whole time, nor even most of the time, but some of the time. Every so often, the great times are overshadowed by the weary, worn times. Occasionally, it seems no one is in your corner. Now and then, it appears you’re spinning your wheels. From time to time, my weaknesses are glaring.
And I have to think that some of the struggles I’ve faced have to do with a line I missed in verse three: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.”
When I presume that I deserve a peaceful existence or a comfortable way of life or the ability to see what God is doing or instantaneous maturity in my walk with God, I will always get into spiritual trouble.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
I’m a little embarrassed because I’m sitting in Starbucks crying while I type . . . so I’ll hurry to my conclusion.
As I continue to give my life as a living sacrifice, it is a more ardent act of worship than ever before. Just as it means more, in a way, when you tell your spouse “I love you” after you’ve been married for many years and have weathered many storms together, than it possibly could have on your wedding day. Your capacity to love and fully embrace the one God gave you has expanded.
And so it is with my relationship with God - all the other-side-of-the-coin experiences, and the unveiling of more and more of my weak self, though they are eclipsed by His goodness and faithfulness to me - they have expanded my capacity to love and worship Him – the only Perfect One. I recognize more and more all the time that I can’t even walk without Him holding my hand.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9