Set Apart in the Way We Think
Romans 12:1–5, 9–13
If you are like me, there are certain biblical figures you anticipate seeing or meeting when you get to heaven. Jesus is at the top of everyone’s list, but there are others. I am looking forward to talking with John the Baptist, the forgiven thief on the cross and Joshua. Among all the kings, prophets and apostles, I am looking forward to meeting a character in the Bible that I am not positive will be present, but I am hoping for it.
This unnamed participant in the story of Jesus is pivotal. “Who is this important contributor to the gospel?” you ask. I am referring to the donkey on Palm Sunday that ushered the Messiah into town. Think about it: He was chosen, he was used and he brought glory to Jesus. I cannot pretend to understand the mind of a donkey, but I can assume he was aware that all the fanfare that day was not for him. This would be the right mindset. Can the same be said of us?
We can be set apart with a renewed mind. (1–2)
There are skills each of us can attain by either studying or practicing. The renewed mind we each need isn’t received through might or status; it is given by “the mercies of God.”
I hope you are a person who is always seeking to learn and understand. A studious mind is to be desired. However, we will never graduate from needing the mercy and grace of God. Like everything else we need for salvation and spiritual maturity, a renewed mind is a gift from God. Who could ever be so smart they could understand the ways of God? No one.
We are to be set apart in the way we think about ourselves. (3–5)
Humility is not thinking less of oneself; humility is thinking of oneself less. As we grow in the mind of Christ, our thoughts and actions will turn toward others. I do not know you or your church’s situation, but anytime people stop serving and are more concerned with themselves and their preferences or opinions, trouble is not far behind. The Creator does not design us with the intention of us serving in isolation. His gift of a church family reminds us of the importance of each person serving and working in unison, sharing a love for Him and people.
We are to be set apart in our love and attitude for others. (9–13)
Words such as “love,” “good,” “honor,” “hope” and “hospitality” pepper these verses. How good are you at manifesting these in your life? It is not enough to know these words with our heads; we must show them with our hands and hearts.
With the current condition our world is in, the most revolutionary and countercultural act on which we can embark is love. A church or any group of Christians who does not love others is not indicative of the Jesus they are claiming to worship.
We must intentionally choose love in the face of the hate and cynicism that permeate the world around us. This practice of good attitudes and being known for serving Jesus is possible and needed where you and I are living today. Don’t tell me it is impossible. Even a donkey can do it!
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi