“Wrestling With Romans”
The Spiritual Worship (Chapter 12 Verses 1-8)
To avoid being entrapped by a worldly life-style we need a firm strategy (vv1-2). Now, we have to live in the world, monasticism is not the answer, that has been proven time and again throughout history. No, it’s being involved in the world without compromising ourselves to it. We must be involved, we are to make disciples of them (Matthew 28.19-20). We need to be aware of the dangers, and we need to avoid the power struggles, competitiveness, materialism, promiscuity, obsession with violence, and it’s idolatry. We need to know our own weaknesses. You think that you could never fall, that’s a fatal attitude (1Corinthians 10:12). Because one Christian can go to one place doesn’t mean every Christian can do so. Then of course we need to constantly examine ourselves. Where do we go for pleasure? The answer to that question reveals a lot about us. If we prefer the world to fellowship, football matches to worship, pop concerts to Bible study, there’s something wrong. The life that pleases God begins with a transformed mind (v2), and ends with a renewed life-style.
This spiritual worship (vv1-2; John 4.24) begins with renovated thinking (Colossians 1.9), it’s the only way we can ascertain the will of the Lord, and to please God. The mind renewed by the Spirit understands the supreme rule of love (Romans 5.5), how to best implement it. It’s through the Spirit’s leading we are able to know when we ought to minister to someone, or remain silent. It is his prompting that causes us to discern when to take on board someone else’s cares, because to do so in our own strength would be folly, even disastrous. This life of spiritual worship is a life empowered by the Holy Spirit, lived in utter dependence upon the Spirit. We must take note that the inspired Apostle doesn’t give us rules to live by, on the contrary he urges the Colossians away from the temptation to succumb to such religious righteousness (Colossians 2.20-22). He gives them principles, that each must work through in their daily living. He tells them rather to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through the Spirit’s word given to them (Colossians 1.9-11). Why? So that they may please God (Colossians 1.10; v1). This is the life in the Spirit, Paul has exposed us to in chapter eight, producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23). The indwelling Spirit reproducing God’s character in us, conforming us more and more to the likeness of his Son Jesus, which is God’s ultimate purpose for each of his children (Romans 8.29b).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)