Living out our faith in a not so friendly atmosphere

The Lord will hear.......

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1

What does that mean exactly? As I read through Romans 12 this morning, I thought about a conversation that took place at work yesterday. I was on the next station over and I heard the conversation start up. A woman who just joined our team was talking about “that singer who left the Grammies.” My ears perked up. Oh no, here we go, I thought. I kept listening as she went on and on about how ridiculous she was, she, meaning Natalie Grant. “After all,” she said, “what did she expect from the Grammy’s, she should have just stayed away.”

Apparently she felt that despite being up for several Grammy’s herself, she should have sat it out, knowing what would take place there. The problem with that is, apparently only a few people knew what would take place during the show. As I understand it, the mass wedding, which included several gay couples was kept a secret from everyone until a few days before the event. The participants and the producer knew about it, and participants had to sign a contract of secrecy that they wouldn’t let the media in on what would take place.

And then there was the whole Katy Perry performance, riddled with Satanic overtones, which added to the bizarre evening.

I kept listening from where I sat, breathing a silent prayer of thanks. Had I been sitting at my regular station I would have been smack dab in the middle, geographically anyway, of the conversation. I probably wouldn’t have been able to keep silent.

She was increasingly aggravated and incensed: “Who does she think she is, anyway, does she think she is better than everyone else?” My trainee was sitting where I usually sit and he was graciously trying to side-step the whole matter. Her trainer was on the next station over and got into the conversation by voicing his support of singer Natalie Grant’s right to get up and leave the performance. I was glad he did that, but it was pretty apparent he was a lone voice, although in the end, my trainee supported her right to leave too, but only after someone else had jumped in and come to her defense.

As I sat reading Romans 12 this morning, I reflected on just what it means to be a living sacrifice in today’s culture. In Paul’s day, under Nero’s rule, Christians were being dragged away tortured and killed for their faith. Paul would be one of those. Thankfully, it hasn’t got to that point in our culture…….yet. But things will get worse before they get better and that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has studied the Bible for any length of time.

None of us has been persecuted, just misunderstood.

And we will continue to be misunderstood, increasingly. In the end, what our faith has to come down to, what it has to look like is love. Our love for God and love for others has to rule our hearts. My co-worker never got angry but he did get his point across. It’s hard for people to argue against love, but then again, Jesus loved and it got Him killed.

I am going to pray for love to rule in my heart as I also pray for wisdom to know when to speak up and when to remain silent. I hope I will have the courage to live out my faith in such a way that it will come out humble and yet strong in the face of opposition, because it is humbling.

I think of what those in Paul’s day did in the face of opposition. They submitted to the authorities and got themselves killed. They loved people to death, their own deaths. They died with love in their hearts and words of peace on their lips.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authorityGod has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:1-5

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