Everyone is familiar with the image of Uncle Sam wearing the big hat with the stars, pointing, with that awkwardly long finger, and that phrase, ”I want YOU.” That poster was famous for the Army communicating, in war time, their need for men to join them and fight for their cause.
Similarly there is a great need for each one of us to respond to God’s call to us, “I want YOU,” for service in His army which would also be known as ministry. I would like to define the word ministry which is the Greek word, diakoneo which means simply, to serve.
This is where things can get a little clunky (I love that word) because many believers feel that they should be ministering in some sort of capacity, but often put the cart before the horse, so to speak.
So, in an attempt to offer some clarity to that process I want to use Romans 12 as what I believe is a practical model on how to approach using the uniqueness and specific giftings God has given you to be a blessing to those He has called you to serve.
I will be sharing these insights with you over my next three blogs, so please stay tuned for those. Today’s post will focus on Romans 12:1-2.
Many people tend to do ministry in the reverse order of how Romans 12 lays out the model. Regularly people try to do ministry, or serve, first instead of the often missed and critical step of personal spiritual transformation that Paul describes in verses 1 and 2.
Personal Transformation - Personal transformation is to be the first priority in our lives. Romans 12:1 says, I urge 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.
Paul is urging us to prioritize a personal relationship and encounter with the Lord before we consider doing anything else and to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. That term living sacrifice means that when it comes to who we are and our personal lives before the Lord, nothing is off the table. Everything we are is being continually offered and available to use as God sees fit.
The beauty in that is the order of priority. Intimacy, which leads to a deep and thriving connection in our hearts to God, will naturally produce a desire to serve.
Verse 2 goes on to say, 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, acceptable and perfect.
This is a very pivotal verse which can serve as a way to collaborate and ensure our hearts are operating from a correct place when it comes to serving in any area of our life.
The world’s version of serving, or maybe, to shock the system, I should say the world’s version of ministry, is usually laced with ulterior motives and the desire to capitalize off another individual. If we are allowing the Holy Spirit to continually renew our minds as we prioritize our heart connection to Jesus, the serving/ministry will produce a beautifully sacrificial and fruitful result in the areas where God desires for us to serve Him.
If we personally pursue Romans 12:1-2 as the base from which we function, then the role we play is much easier to understand, and should produce a natural desire in us to want to use all that we are in service/ministry to the Lord. This process produces an antidote to succumbing to manufacturing ministry or jumping into ministry out of obligation. Living out of a Romans 12:1-2 encounter with Jesus results in the ability to fulfill the amazing opportunities that Paul lays out in the remaining portion of chapter 12 which I will dive into in my next post.
For now I will leave you with this thought for reflection. If you are willing to respond to Jesus’ invitation which His servant, Paul, exhorts in verses 1-2, you will have a proper perspective of what you have to offer and why it is vitally important to share who God has made you to be.
The world awaits the blessing that you were made to be to it!