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Offer Your Bodies

Offer Your Bodies

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper 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

For years, I read this challenge to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice and never fully grasped it meant our actual bodies — our flesh-and- blood, moving, breathing, pulse-pumping bodies. When Scripture is read as metaphor, sometimes we miss what is blatantly obvious — for example, Jesus’ command to His disciples to follow Him didn’t mean, “Jot this down in your journal and ponder what it means to follow”; it meant, “Get up and use your actual legs and come with Me to where I am going.” Scholars believed He walked more than three thousand miles from town to town in His three years of ministry, and the whole time, He invited His followers to sacrifice their bodies to follow Him.1

Likewise, getting up, showing up, and presenting our bodies in any type of gathering requires sacrifice — childcare, savings, planning, preparing. Yet this kind of sacrifice runs counter to a digital era. Culture suggests that intimacy is just as possible through a screen; in reality, when we arrive in person, we are practicing a new level of intimacy and vulnerability. This is why the church is urged in Scripture to never forsake meeting together (see Hebrews 10:25).

Paul writes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.” His assumption is that the natural forces of life will steer our bodies away from sacrifice toward a path that doesn’t lead to our flourishing but perhaps instead to our demise. The only way to fight this trajectory is to be transformed. We do this through the renewing of our minds.

Renew Your Mind

Renewing our minds may sound like a foggy idea, so let’s get very practical about how we apply this in modern times. The word mindful, which means “attentive,” has become more in vogue in recent years, and yet mindfulness is consistently modeled in Scripture. The book of Psalms is filled with poetry by writers who were attentive to their longings and emotions. Jesus modeled attentiveness to everyone He encountered, with words of encouragement, food for nourishment, even physical healing. The art of paying attention is a good first step, especially for the Christian who desires to renew their mind. Once we observe our current thoughts and begin to identify and name them, the Bible says we renew our minds when we do more than just passively observe our thoughts;

  • to renew our minds is to actively trade our limited thinking for God’s perfect and comprehensive thinking.

Psalm 1:1–3 reads,

Blessed is the one... whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

Furthermore, in Jeremiah 17:8, this tree is described as resilient:

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

We have the potential to fill our minds with truth day and night. When we renew our minds, we become resilient, like a tree planted by water that continues to produce fruit, no matter what storms come its way.

Renewing our minds requires taking account of the thoughts we have, the books we read, the content we let in, and the ideas we’ve come to trust. We get to decide what we think, how we think, and which inputs we allow in or throw out. In our home, Gabe and I audited the shows we watch, the news sources we trust, and the amount of time spent on both. This audit resulted in the cancellation of several streaming services that offered up nonsense or tempted us toward mindlessness. We gained time back into our day, and our perspectives and attitudes became more positive. Taking such an inventory is a great way to assess how your mind is being shaped.

I’ve had to evaluate how often I approach my days by leading with the negative: What can I change? When I start my day speaking fatigue and exhaustion over myself, I miss the chance to receive God’s mercies that are new every morning. When I begin with a grateful heart, I gain the resilience that offers strength. I’ve had to preach to myself, Rebekah, let’s walk out the door and treat the day as if it’s already redeemed. Reject any temptation to despair and choose to trust and live fully.

This can be easier said than done. Preaching to ourselves requires a knowledge of what is true, a security that our identity comes from Christ, and the wisdom to discern when toxic thinking is invading our mental space.

  • We build a resilient life by taking account of toxic thoughts and retraining our brains to think differently.

What Truth Do You Need to Preach to Yourself?

Do you struggle with negative thoughts? Are you tempted to focus on your brokenness, failure, and weakness? Do you dwell on your anxieties? To find resilience, you begin by shifting the narrative. Dr. Daniel Amen urges us to wake up each morning and say out loud, “Today is going to be a great day!”2 Though this may sound like a stretch, try to say it out loud anyway. If you repeat it enough, you’ll begin to laugh at yourself. Once you laugh out loud, you’ll begin to believe it.

Remember that God has made you for a specific time and has given you a purpose. Remember your purpose, and design your day around it. Press into the ongoing invitation to believe that God is faithful to complete what He begins. Preach this truth to yourself daily. When you do, you’ll move with strength, courage, and confidence. You’ll be unwavering in the storms of life.

1.See Jack Wellman, “Where Did Jesus Travel While on Earth?” Patheos, December 17, 2015, /2015/12/17/where-did-jesus-travel-while-on-earth.

2.Quoted in Sadie Robertson, “How You Can Be Happier: Practical Tips and Advice / Sadie Robertson Huff and Dr. Daniel Amen,” WHOA, That’s Good podcast, February 23, 2022, .com/watch?v=47oYilrpBNc.

Excerpted with permission from Building a Resilient Life by Rebekah Lyons, copyright Rebekah Lyons.

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Your Turn

What are you preaching to yourself? You and I get to choose what we allow into our minds and what we say to ourselves! Let’s stop and think, “What am I doing today to renew my mind and get rid of toxic thinking?” ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

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