Do not be shaped by this world ...
So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. -Romans 12:1-2 NCV
I am struck by the dichotomy that Paul speaks to in these verses. Pleasing to God or pleasing to ourselves. Shaped by God or shaped by the world. The will of God versus the will of the flesh. Some might read these words and think that God wants us to live in a monastery. Nothing could be further than the truth. We must remember that He created us to be a part of his creation - to live in it in such a way that causes blessings to come every part of creation.
Jesus puts it this way: "If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross every day, and follow me continuously." This is true worship. It is the living sacrifice that Paul speaks to. It begins with a new heart that has the ability to conform our minds in ways that resonates with the Holy Spirit. The changes begins within and bubbles to the surface in ways that cause us to live continuously sacrificially as we discern what God wants us to do.
I offer my life to you again this morning Lord. You are the Potter and I the clay. Shape and mold me dear Friend.