Based on a sermon series by Chip Ingram, learn what it takes to put true spirituality into practice. Start by developing transformative relationships with ourselves, God, the world, and others.
Every parent has a dream for his or her child, and God is no different. You are His child, and He has a dream for you. Read ahead and uncover that dream, and the way God will help you achieve it.
If you want to jump ahead, use the links provided below.
God’s dream for you is, ultimately, to make you like His Son.
…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
To that end, he uses every circumstance—every up, every down, every relationship—in our lives to conform us to His likeness. Nothing goes to waste!
For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)
He’s even designed the church to be the perfect classroom in which to learn and grow in maturity. God reminds us that through the church, we enter into relationships, and we use our gifts for the betterment of the body. The purpose is to grow in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
In short, God’s dream for every child of His is to become a disciple – a ROMANS 12 Christian!
The question is: How?
In this instructive chapter of the Scriptures, Paul paints a clear picture of what a believer’s life should look like, both today and 2000 years ago. In short, when we develop healthy relationships with God, ourselves, and others, we can begin to experience the maturity that makes us more like Jesus.
Let’s explore each relationship—connections that are foundational to each of us as humans—and our response as Romans 12 Christians.
Experience True Spirituality When You Transform These 5 Key Relationships
1. SURRENDER to God
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
Your relationship with God is at the core of authentic, true spirituality.
For many of us, we have faith, but we’re anemic. We don’t experience His power because our lives aren’t surrendered.
It’s like a spraying hose that suddenly gets kinked. We believe, and we have an understanding of true spirituality, but no water is coming out. Instead, we depend on moralism and attempts to live a great life, but our hose is still kinked because our relationship with God is not surrendered.
Surrendering to God is the power that transforms our faith.
Study the Bible daily with Chip Ingram as he leads a Daily Discipleship: True Spirituality study through Romans 12. Learn more and register today!
2. SEPARATE from the World
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
When we don’t cultivate a healthy relationship with the world, we lack peace. Here’s how:
- We live unsurrendered
- We need distractions to make us feel better
- We’re uncomfortable with quiet and with our thoughts
- We seldom take the opportunity to have our minds renewed
Can you relate? We drive home from work listening to SiriusXM and then walk into the house and ask Alexa to play a podcast. We busy ourselves with chores and trips to the refrigerator and chats with others, all the while avoiding the silence.
How can we know God’s will when we haven’t allowed for mind renewal?
Develop a healthy relationship with the world by taking time to gain perspective and, ultimately, peace.
3. SOBER in Personal Self-Assessment
For by the grace given me, I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:3-8)
A healthy relationship with yourself looks like this:
You wake up, stretch, and walk to the bathroom. Looking in the physical, spiritual, and relational mirror, you say, “I like that person.”
Is that hard for you to imagine saying?
In the sovereignty of God, He wants you to have an accurate, sober view of yourself: your personality, your gifts, height, eye color, deep struggles, your family background. God wants you to see yourself the way He sees you—dearly loved, valuable, precious, and forgiven. You are valuable.
How do you come to grips with the real, authentic you? It happens when you take a sober self-assessment and see yourself the way God sees you.
The REAL YOU is loved: 6 Bible Verses That Reveal Profound Truths About God’s Love For Us
4. SERVING in Love
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13)
His Spirit lives inside of these other people called fellow Christians, and He’s deposited gifts in them. He wants to hug you through THEM, and He wants to love you through THEM, and He wants to hold you accountable through THEM. He wants to encourage you through THEM. And are you ready? He wants you to do that right back.
Part of experiencing true spirituality is having relationships with other believers. We commit to:
- Know each other
- Like each other
- Sacrifice for one another
- Pray for each other
- Do whatever it takes to help one another
This is what it’s like to live in an authentic Christian community. By the way, this is not a new concept. Remember what Jesus said to the early church?
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
Build healthy relationships: 7 Key Elements For Building Genuine Biblical Friendships
5. SUPERNATURALLY Responding to Evil with Good
The way we navigate life with nonbelievers is another key relationship in our transformation and true spirituality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21)
This passage isn’t just talking about nonbelievers; it’s also referring to people who’ve been hostile to the Gospel and maybe even towards you. Or maybe they’ve hurt or betrayed you and become your enemy.
How do you respond to evil with good?
In a recent article, I explore the steps to forgive those who’ve hurt or persecuted you. It’s a difficult subject to tackle, but freedom awaits. I hope you’ll start that forgiving process today.
As we fulfill God’s purpose for us, to make us more like His Son, we experience true spirituality. We’re transformed by our relationship with our Heavenly Father, the world, with ourselves, with believers, and then with unbelievers.
Be encouraged: true spirituality has nothing to do with living a good life so that God will love you. On the contrary, it has everything to do with starting to grasp the height and depth and length and breadth of how much God has ALREADY loves you.
Explore God’s purpose for your life, how to thrive in Christian community, and more Romans 12 wisdom when you join the True Spirituality Daily Discipleship journey with Chip Ingram.
Daily Discipleship: True Spirituality 17-Day Study
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip