We don't know what to do.
We gawk, we stare, we try our best...
We read, we pray, we do all that we can...
We have been charged to continue in God's kindness...
We present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and acceptable to God...
But, we don't even know what that means.
We must no longer be conformed to this world but be transformed...
Transformed by the renewal of our minds... that by testing we may discern what is the will of God... what is good, acceptable, and perfect.
But, we are not perfect.
Perfection comes from beyond our control.
Have you ever noticed that in the Green Lantern, everything is beyond Hal's control??
Through-out the movie Hal Jordan goes from a reckless pilot to a responsible leader. He changes from a womanizer to a man of character. He is transformed from just another average guy to an out-of-this-world hero.
But, none of it is really his choice.
The ring chooses him, the Corps adopts him, the Guardians accept him, Oa changes him.
I could easily start talking about the ignorant savages we are until God, like the lantern, chooses to give life to us; the fire and the trials that we have been through that build our character, just like Hal is poked and prodded as he is given his suit; or the remarkable power that the Gospel bears, compared to the power given to Hal. These things are all true. But, Paul takes us somewhere else.
He takes us back to the bigger picture, he knows it is the Spirit who transforms our lives, but he doesn't dwell on that fact... he dwells on the purpose... the reason... why? Why are we to be transformed?!
When Hal is transformed by the Lantern, it isn't just for his sake. It isn't to make him a better person. It isn't to get him the perfect girl or the dream job. It isn't about him at all.
He is transformed and adopted into a community. He has become one of the Corps. He is a member of the fuller body of life forms chosen to protect their sectors, to serve their communities, to be stewards of their home-worlds.
We are transformed for a similar purpose. As we set ourselves apart to be holy and acceptable to God... living sacrifices... discerning the will of God... we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. We must be humble... We must have sober judgment according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. We cannot boast to have what we do not have or claim to know what we do not know. We have been made the way we are for a reason. We have a different set of strengths and weaknesses than anyone else.
We are members of a body... not all have the same function.... though we are many and we are varied in our functions, we have become one body in Christ... Having different gifts to be used in different ways.
Could you even picture some alien GL trying to serve Earth's sector??? That would blow peoples' minds.
Because we have been transformed, we are to abhor what is evil, holding fast to what is good... letting love be genuine... loving one another with brotherly affection, outdoing one another in showing honor... we are not called to be slothful, but to be fervent in spirit... to serve the Lord.
We may rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, constant in prayer, contributing to the needs of our fellow members and looking to show hospitality... blessing those who persecute us... Rejoicing with those who are rejoicing and weeping with those who are weeping... living in harmony with one another... We must not be prideful or arrogant, but associate with even the lowly... not to repay evil for evil, but to give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all....
To live peaceably with all, if possible...
Not to avenge ourselves, but leaving it to the wrath of God...
If our enemy is hungry, we shall feed him... thirsty, give him something to drink... overcoming evil with good.
This is what community is about.
This is who we have been transformed to be.
Paul doesn't focus on how we got here, or discuss the great length that the Son of God incarnate had to go to show this to us, he doesn't focus on the trials and the means of discerning God's will, he knows we can figure those things out. We've got plenty of other chapters to focus on those things. And, God's will will reveal itself whether we want it to or not.
Here, and now, Paul paints us a picture of who we are meant to be.... who the Holy Spirit has transformed us to be.... But, are we really listening?
He gives us a vision of the heroes we are.
But, how close to those heroes do we really seem to be?
How do we act in community?
****This study is on Romans 12.
***Here's another Super Inc. Devotion on Romans 12:2 with Gambit.
***Here's another Green Lantern Devotion.