Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2
In a small farming community, news travels fast. Several years after the bank sold the farm David’s family had owned for decades, he learned the property would be available for sale. After much sacrifice and saving, David arrived at the auction and joined a crowd of nearly two hundred local farmers. Would David’s meager bid be enough? He placed the first bid, taking deep breaths as the auctioneer called for higher bids. The crowd remained silent until they heard the slam of the gavel. The fellow farmers placed the needs of David and his family above their own financial advancement.
This story about the farmers’ sacrificial act of kindness demonstrates the way the apostle Paul urges followers of Christ to live. Paul warns us not to conform to the “pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2), by placing our selfish desires before the needs of others and scrambling for self-preservation. Instead, we can trust God to meet our needs as we serve others. As the Holy Spirit renews our minds, we can respond to situations with God-honoring love and motives. Placing others first can help us avoid thinking too highly of ourselves as God reminds us that we’re a part of something bigger—the church (vv. 3–4).
The Holy Spirit helps believers understand and obey the Scriptures. He empowers us to give selflessly and love generously, so we can thrive together as one.
How can you place someone else’s needs before your own? How has your faith been impacted by someone placing your needs before their own?
Father God, please rid me of my selfishness so I can love selflessly and stand as one with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Romans 12 marks a turning point in Paul’s letter. Previously the apostle had been explaining the work of God in salvation, describing Jesus as the second Adam who came to redeem what had been lost through our first parents’ disobedience in Eden. Now he turns his attention to the way this salvation is to be lived out by those bought by Christ’s sacrifice. It starts with the redeemed becoming a “living sacrifice” (v. 1), whose focus is on being useful to God in the lives of others. This is followed by a list of spiritual gifts to equip God’s children in service to others (vv. 3–8). Another group of spiritual gifts appears in 1 Corinthians 12:7–11, and a list of leadership roles (gifts to the church) is found in Ephesians 4:11. Through the provision of these gifts and roles, the Spirit enables us to be useful in our spiritual service.