Give Your All
“I urge you, . . . , by the mercies of God, . . .” Romans 12:1
The best thing we can do is to let God have control of us. However, this is a struggle. Within a great many people there lurks in the background of their mind a conception of God as a stern, relentless God waiting to condemn, demanding sacrifices, taking pleasure in our pain, and sentencing us to a cold, colorless, dull life. Little wonder that surrender continues to be a battle.
But, Jesus lived and died to destroy our false conception of God, to show us a God as gracious, as understanding, as generous in His love as Christ Himself. What better thing could we do than to put ourselves in the hands of such a wonderful God? We should not waste one more day missing out on such a remarkable privilege to place ourselves at God’s disposal to live life as a thank offering.
Paul’s appeal is urgent, he implores us to submit our life, by the mercy of God. It might be better paraphrased, “I implore you, because you have a Father of mercy who loves you.”
It’s impossible to appreciate this call without seeing it against the background of the Jewish law. The precepts of the law began with “thou shall” and “thou shall not.” It announced penalties and consequences for disobedience, in some cases leading to death. The law was an instrument of coercion. It was dictatorial and compassionless. Its power over others was based on threats.
And it failed. It produced outward conformity, but it did not reach the heart. It completely ignored the heart. It didn’t create good, faithful, loving followers. Instead, people continually relapsed back to their old sinful ways. It never overcame sin.
Sin was too strong for it. People defied it, or they denied it. The plain teaching of the weakness of the law is a wakeup call for us today. It’s undeniable proof that people cannot be made good by making more laws. Dictating to people will never save them.
Since God loves us so much, all we can do is give our all. We cannot be stingy and give only what is required, as we do with taxes. Love does not punish, it does not deal in penalties. We love, because He first loved us.
Are you giving your whole self to God, or holding back?