Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Cleaning the Shower with the Apostle Paul

Yesterday, while scrubbing my shower, I used the most powerful weapon known to man to keep the voices in my head in check. In an attempt to overpower my self diagnosed disorder -- C-NeST (chronic negative self talk), I began to quote Romans 12:1-2. It was already taped to the wall of the shower, so there was no reason that I hadn't already memorized and meditated on it prior to yesterday (did you catch the negative talk just then--dang, it's bad). Anyway, I began to memorize this portion of the letter from the Apostle Paul, slowly repeating the words, leaving no oxygen or space for any other thoughts to exist, and after a short time I could say it without concentrating so hard. I began to think of the meaning behind each phrase, and at some moments, each word.
"Therefore, I urge you, my brothers"
He's not merely suggesting this, like,
"hey, you guys should try Greek yogurt!"
to do ourselves a gigantic favor!
"in view of God's mercy"
God has chosen to allow us to live after we fell short of perfection.
What we "earned" was death after the first second of the first minute of our first sin.
And, then, He has chosen to bless us with opportunities
to shower love onto other people,
to enjoy nature, and to benefit from the love we receive from others...
while we deserve none of those things.
"to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,"
give it all as an offering--the tongue, the legs, the mind--
every single part of our 2000 body parts needs to be an offering
"holy and pleasing to God"
Again--the tongue that becomes tamed;
no longer polluting this world with gossip and negativity.
The legs that walk to the car and then into the hospital room;
visiting a friend after a surgery that will leave her infertile.
the mind that decides to leave behind lies;
finding creative ways to glorify Him and encourage others.
"this is true worship."
It's not with a guitar, it's not with drums.
The lights won't come up at just the right moment.
This side of Heaven, we may never hear the beautiful lyrics that go along
with this offering to God, this gift from us, that He calls "true worship".
But, this is what he desires from us as our act of worship.
Give who we are as a sacrifice.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world,"
Set ourselves apart! Distance ourselves from the lies of this world!
We need to stop believing the lie that we will have to do something of marked and measured achievement before our lives will matter.
That is the pattern of this world!
Crazed Tiger Mothers send messages to the rest of us parents
that we had better raise a child who is a Prodigy.
America loves winners; underdogs who overcome incredible obstacles to achieve
more than the average--and we better figure out how to do that before it's too late!
"but be transformed"
Be different than we would be. Yep.
We would be a certain way without this transformation.
We wouldn't please him.
We need to be transformed to be able to please!
"by the renewing of your mind."
How can we renew our minds?
Can we call the L.A.Times and ask for a renewal?
There is only one way to refurbish our brains.
We have to renovate! Prayer Renovation!
We have to allow it to penetrate--talking and listening--and this takes time!
So, we have to put in the time praying! AND...reading our bibles.
Yes, picking them up, everyday and opening them and looking at the words.
Putting those words into our over zealous brains.
Then. Then. THEN! AFTER we do the renovating! Not before.

"you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-"
We will not always know immediately what to do,
and that is okay, but we will be able to take those queries
and compare them to the scripture we have been reading.
We will be able to hold them up
against the mirror of scripture and see if they match!
And that is how we will find out what God thinks we should do!
Not what Dr. Phil thinks we should do,
not what the latest Healthy Living Green Family blogsite thinks we should do...
what God thinks we should do!
"-his good, pleasing, and perfect will."
Not just what may be a little bit better.
Good. This is the same word that God used to describe his creation.
Pleasing. It is the plan that will be a sweet aroma to the God of the Universe.
Perfect. His perfect will. For us, everyday, there is a plan that is God's perfect will for us.
"Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-
-this is true worship.
Do not conform 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."

Romans 12:1-2 (TNIV)