A Change of Mind. Day seventeen...
How much money do we spend here in the United States on self defense? A large corporation will typically spend more than $500,000 a year protecting its CEO. Supposedly, seventeen percent of our 125 million homes have a security system, which amounts to an expenditure of a little over $5 billion a year (based on my rough estimates).
We pay for dogs, guns, pepper spray, martial arts training, body armor, body guards, and other self‐defense goods and services to protect what?
To protect our lives.
Sure, a little of the money we spend on personal protection is about protecting our personal property. We don't want the bad guys stealing our purses, our computers, our jewelry, or any of our other valuables. But mainly we don't want the bad guys bringing harm to our physical bodies. We don't want to be hurt or killed.
But there's more to us than just our physical bodies (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23). We don't, however, pay much attention to protecting those other parts of us from being hurt or killed, i.e. our soul and our spirit.
While I am always diligent about watching out for the bad guy, I'm not always so diligent about watching out for the bad stuff I ingest with my senses.
Strangely, all of us seem to be willing to expose our non‐physical existence to just about any danger, without giving it much thought. We appear to be willing to read, listen to, or look at just about anything that comes along.
I am convinced that it is necessary for us to understand just how protective we are of our physical existence before we can ever understand what Paul wrote to the Romans:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1 NKJV)
The same Greek word translated as “bodies” in this verse is also used in Thessalonians:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV)
I find it interesting that God didn't ask us to put our souls or our spirits on the altar, but our bodies. It's as if He knows that we are more attached to our physical presence here on this earth than anything else.
In this context, before we can be transformed by the changing of our mind (Romans 12:2) we must first put our physical existence on the line.
What does all this mean?
If we want to act like Jesus (follow the ways of God) then we have to start thinking like Jesus (following the thoughts of God).
But before anything can happen, we have to give God something to work with. And that something has to be what we cling to the most—our physical presence here on this earth. While we may not be willing to admit it, we will defend our physical presence long before anything else. We'll allow ourselves to starve emotionally, mentally, and spiritually—long before we will allow ourselves to starve physically.
So what we will first of all defend, we must first of all surrender.
Then a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which were only worth a few cents. Calling his followers to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow gave more than all those rich people. They gave only what they did not need. This woman is very poor, but she gave all she had; she gave all she had to live on.”(Mark 12:42‐44 NCV)
I could offer God my heart, my life, my future …. And that's all good. But since these are such abstract offers there's always the chance that I have offered Him, as did those rich people, only what I thought I could live without. And when He comes to collect, I would feel perfectly justified in saying: “Oh, I didn't mean my heart in that sense, Lord. I didn't mean that part of my life, Lord. I didn't mean all of my future, Lord.”
But when I offer Him my complete physical existence here on this earth, then I've given Him, just like the poor widow, everything I had to live on.
Have a good weekend,