September 10, 2018

Truths I Wish I'd Known Then!

Romans 12:1–2

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A Living Sacrifice

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2 Do not be conformed to this world,3 but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.4


[1] 12:1 Or brothers and sisters
[2] 12:1 Or your rational service
[3] 12:2 Greek age
[4] 12:2 Or what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God

Truths I Wish I'd Known Then!

Bio | Becky Duncan

Through a divinely orchestrated event (my son and I were given tickets to the 1995 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at The Ballpark at Arlington, where I eavesdropped on a conversation), I was introduced to a community of Christ followers where, for the first time, I established a foundation of trust. I began building relationships with authentic believers that allowed me to start seeing a different picture of God. I learned that experiencing intimacy with Him would require "unlearning" a lot of habits and destructive coping strategies I'd developed to deal with the pain of my past.

Central Truth

Our world, our culture, and even our own feelings dictate our choices and actions. But God's Word tells us that we don't need to be a slave to our culture or feelings. Instead, we can be transformed as our minds are renewed by His Word. 

Devotional | Romans 12:1–2

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give the "younger you" some advice? If I could share some truth with the 16-year-old me, this is what I would say:

"Nothing twists and deforms the soul...

Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give the "younger you" some advice? If I could share some truth with the 16-year-old me, this is what I would say:

"Nothing twists and deforms the soul more than a low or unworthy conception of God." (A.W. Tozer)

You are viewing God through a broken lens. You are allowing culture, past experiences, and circumstances to dictate your thoughts and actions. You are trying to get your needs met by relationships with boys.

"Your emotions respond to what you choose with your will to believe is truth." (Anabel Gillham)

Don't live your life or base your decisions on your feelings. Most of your problems are rooted in thinking patterns that produce problems and/or sin. Romans 12:2 teaches that you can be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Your mind . . . not merely your feelings.

I have more good news! Your identity is in Christ Jesus, not in feelings, because you are a new creation. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

God loves you and is for you. He came to rescue you. He wants the best for you. He wants your mind renewed so that you aren't listening to an old broken record of lies. So, what are you waiting for? Toss out the old broken records!

By that I mean, respond to the gospel fiercely and choose not to allow the old records (ways of thinking and feeling) to control you. You can do this by spending time getting to know the Lord . . . just like the way you spend time with your friends. Tell Him everything. Ask Him for wisdom. Cry to Him. Laugh. Believe His promises. Memorize Scripture. Be known. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Serve others. Lay down your desires. Make it your practice to live your life this way, in true worship that brings the Lord glory. This is your purpose!

This purpose is for the 16-year-old you. Or really, for you at any age.

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Discussion Questions

1. If you could write a letter to yourself at the age of 16 from the "you" of today, what would you say?

2. What broken records are you ready to toss? (Romans 12:2)

3. Do you know your purpose? (Isaiah 43:7) If so, how is your life reflecting that purpose? If not, will you ask God to help you define that purpose this week?

16 Comments available

Kari Drews 10 months ago

Great devotional Becky - truth well stated.Throw out the old records and sing a new song into the Lord. Love the reminder to us all - our beliefs affect our behavior. God’s word is our guidance.

Helen Moss Smith 10 months ago
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Fantastic deco. Thank you. I also miss Hope Harris!

Lynnette Morton 10 months ago

Thank you Becky for this spot on reminder of His truth. Loved your encouragement to us. Preparing to start the study of 1 Corinthians this Thursday night with the women of Watermark, this could not be more timely. God thing for sure! Memorizing 12:2.

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

Q3 part of me purpose is getting worship right first and living mercifully next and that’s the order Paul talks about it

Worship though bodies, changed with renewal of mind then live a merciful life

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

Q1 I became a Christian at 18 and so… thinking back… I read the Bible daily and went to church weekly with few exceptions for 40+ years and I would quote the following

“Listen to rich expositions of the “gospel of the glory of Christ.” Read your Bible from cover to cover always in search of the revelation of the glory of Christ. Read and ponder the Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting writings of great, spiritual men and women. And form the habit of meditating on the perfections of Christ. And in it all pray, pray, pray that the Holy Spirit will renew your mind, that you may desire and approve the will of God, so that all of life will become worship to the glory of Christ.” John Piper

greg jones 10 months ago

I miss the Hope Harris comments and the wisdom that was coming from her undeniable relationship and walk with God.

Where’s the Hope!? :-))

Elizabeth Lariscy 10 months ago

Amen, my sister in Christ! Thank you, Becky for that powerful devo! I needed that today! May all the Glory be to God! Blessings!

greg jones 10 months ago

I love the thought of going back and writing a note to a younger self. To me much of what Paul writes in his letters to early first century converts to the new way, sound like notes Paul could have written to a younger version of himself, one who could not see God worshiped in a culture outside the one he was raised and comfortable in. Paul, the overachieving Pharisee when it came to circumcision and dietary laws, now says, by God’s “mercies” present your bodies a living sacrifice to Him. By testing, not by conforming to the culture you’re raised in, worship God with your body. It is by testing not conforming that Paul warns against circumcision to the Galatians and then circumcised Timothy, who had a Greek father, himself. God’s love does not conform to the paradigm of a single culture. Therefore the truth of the memory verse.

Shawn Foster 10 months ago

Fantastic devotional Becky. Thank you! I think you covered it. Only things I might add, would be to “have the highest regard for God’s word & treat him like a treasure. And then do not spend your strength on your selfish desires, with those who ruin kings.” A step in the Prodigal ministry is to write our mission statement, so I know my purpose is to glorify God. I’m so grateful for that, and for JTJ and our family here at WM! Thx again.

John Hill 10 months ago

Great devo Becky! Good advice if you are 16 or 61!

James Fooster 10 months ago

Thank you, Becky! Q1 – Dear younger me (oops…I missed by 41 years), on January 17, 2010, I wrote, “I will let God transform me into a new person by changing the way I think!” Feedback is, He did! Q2 – God is showing me how to stop playing self-defeating games. Q3 – As for purpose, I am a loving and forgiving man, on a mission to be accepting of people, seeking to share my story of transformation, because my identity is Christ in me, James Foster, even on my worst day!

Michael Scaman 10 months ago

Q3 this chapter has a purpose for both body and mind

Right living in the body. A war with the old nature is currently ongoing The body a living sacrifice as we struggle to ‘mortify the flesh’ in pursuit of superior pleasures

Right thinking in the mind. It goes back to a love of truth given in salvation and a hunger for the scriptures. Loving truth doesn’t mean you perfectly articulate truth but loving the light and not the darkness is a fruit of salvation

I love this Piper sermon on how to renew the mind Our old natures make us sitting ducks but a new nature with a new posture of mind by the Holy Spirit is the solution

Angie Mosier 10 months ago

Love this so much! Thanks, Becky!

Sue Bohlin 10 months ago

OH WOW, BECKY!! Phenomenal devo, sister! Your wise words to your 16-year-old self are great for all of us.

I so love Paul’s exhortation to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. I remember the first time that happened, in college when I spouted off some nonsense about my current, culture-conforming beliefs, and soneone gave me a Josh McDowell cassette tape called “Maximum Sex” that taught God’s design and intentions for us. That’s when I discovered the key to having my thinking transformed—to find the “something better” to replace my faulty thinking.

Lindsey Driscoll 10 months ago

Becky, excellent devo to start off this section of Paul taking about transformation through Christ. Q2- In view of God’s mercy, and and his will for our bodies to be living sacrifices to him, what patterns of this world do I conform to? I’ll start with laziness today, how? By renewing my mind with God’s truth: at Work Colossians 3:22-23 and submitting my heart, mind, and body to worship Romans 12:1.

Hugh Stephenson 10 months ago

Hello sister Becky! Wow. Awesomely well done devo.

Q1 - I would ask myself Matthew 16:15. Then quote to myself 1 John 2:15-17.

Several words/phrases grab me -

“Therefore”. As in, “Now that you have read 1:1-11:36…”

“the mercies of God” - “Since you know its 100% Him and 0% you, and you know what you deserve…”

“living sacrifice” – Dr C links this self-initiated willing sacrifice to Isaac and to Jesus. “Accept that your life is not your own and this world is not your home. Get busy.”; (Matthew 28:19-20), (Acts 1:8).”

“be transformed” – “I have taught you what God taught me. Use your brain and you will see clearly what God wants you to do”.

“renewal” – The world wants me to conform to it. I will need to renew my mind and purpose daily. At least.

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