The past few study times, we have been discovering what our path looks like when we follow Jesus. Today, Paul shows us how to become image bearers to the King of Kings. He calls us to take on His image so we can show others who Jesus is. Let’s see what that this looks like, go ahead and read Romans 12.
Paul is pleading with us to jump in and fully submerse ourselves in following Jesus. We are to give our bodies to God; physically, mentally and emotionally.
ASK YOURSELF: Why does Paul say to give your bodies to God, see verse 1?
When we think about what Jesus did to save us, what He is asking of us is easy-peasy. We should be jumping in without reservation!
ASK YOURSELF: According to verse 1, what is the true way to worship God?
Paul says to “not copy the behavior and customs of this world.”2
ASK YOURSELF: What needs to change in your life?
Paul continues, “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”2 Not only do we need a heart transplant, we need a new mindset too. When we follow Jesus, He will give us new hearts and new minds! Check out 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, Colossians 3:5-10 and Ephesians 4:21-24 to deepen your knowledge of how we are to be living.
ASK YOURSELF: What happens when you follow Paul’s advice, according to verse 2?
ADDED INSIGHT: If you want to pursue spiritual growth, read through the following four scriptures, starting with Matthew 22:37-39. Second, read Romans 12:2, followed by Colossians 1:9-10, ending with 2 Timothy 2:15-16.
Paul started out pleading with us, now in verses 3-5 he is giving us a warning.
ASK YOURSELF: What does Paul warn us about, see verse 3?
We are to evaluate ourselves based on the faith God has given us. We tend to think more highly of ourselves than we really are, don’t we? But Paul reminds us that we are a part of one body, Christ’s body. We belong to each other. We are not to live like boats sailing our own seas, going where we want to go. We are now sailing in God’s boat all together, heading in the same direction on the same mission.
While in God’s boat, we are to use the gifts God has given us. While each of us is wired differently, we are working together in unity. Look at what Paul says in verses 6-8, if you have been given the gift to prophesy, speak out in faith. If you like to serve others, serve them well. Are you a teacher? Teach others well. Encourage those who need encouraging, give generously and take responsibility seriously. If God made you kindhearted, do it gladly.
ASK YOURSELF: Why would Paul list out these traits that reveal who Christ is, according to verse 9?
God is looking for authentic love from His children. He doesn’t have time to deal with impersonations or someone who masquerades around.
Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.10
From verses 11-16, Paul lists out other accomplishments of someone who is an image-bearer to the King:
- Never be lazy
- Work hard
- Serve the Lord enthusiastically
- Rejoice in the confident hope in Christ
- Remain patient when struggles arise
- Keep on praying
- Help your brothers and sisters in Christ when they have a need
- Be eager to practice hospitality
- Bless those who persecute you; pray for them
- Rejoice during happy times and weep during sad times with others
- Live in harmony with each other
- Enjoy keeping company with ordinary people
- Don’t act like a know-it-all
This is quite a list for us to learn and emulate from. Thank goodness we can be these things when Jesus is the one doing a good work within us. The Holy Spirit will change us, teach us and show us how to live for Christ and be like Him.
Finally, Paul teaches us in the final verses, 17-21, how to treat others when life is unfair, when others mistreat us.
ASK YOURSELF: List out what you see from these verses. What did you learn? What advice would you give someone to encourage them when someone is treating them unfairly? What is God saying to you as He encourages you?
Paul ends our lesson with some words that will make a difference in your life. A difference where you will shine His image brightly to those around you. “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”21
We are image bearers to the King of Kings. May we emulate God’s Son to the best of our ability.