How can you tell the difference between something real and something fake? How can you tell the difference between someone who’s real and someone who’s fake? Or the difference between someone who simply says they’re a Christian and someone who lives it out?
1) A Living Sacrifice
Why does God call us to present our bodies as “living sacrifices” to Him?
God desires all that we are — not just our church attendance. He wants us to live for Him at home, at school, and even with our friends — He wants a 24/7/365 relationship.
2) Do Not Be Conformed
In Romans 12:2, Paul urges us not to be conformed to this world, but be transformed. You see, being a Christian is not about praying a prayer and going to heaven, but about being totally transformed by Jesus from the inside-out.
Religion is transformation from the outside-in — trying to clean up your life yourself, which you can’t do. You must surrender to God and present your whole self to Him so that He can clean you up and transform you.
How are we transformed?
By the renewing of our minds. Paul doesn’t just tell us “not to conform,” in Romans 12:2 (ESV), he takes it a step further: “don’t conform, but be transformed”. Paul is actually calling us to step into our true identity as sons and daughters of God — to leave the inferior reality of the world’s way of thinking to embrace the superior reality of who God created us to be.
3) The Mercies of God
This may seem like a difficult thing: To present ourselves as living sacrifices before God. You may be wondering something like: “What’s God going to do if I give all of myself to Him? Can I trust my life in His hands?”
Let’s go back to Romans 12:1. Before Paul ever asks us to do any of this, he lays the foundation: “By the mercies of God.” Therefore, all of this is done in light of God’s mercy — He is merciful towards us even in our failures and mistakes in living for Him.
4) Taking Off the Mask
Many people define a hypocrite as someone who says one thing and does another - but this definition of hypocrisy is too broad. We all have times when we fail to live up to the things we believe — but this is not necessarily hypocrisy. The word “hypocrite” is actually a Greek word that was never translated into English.
In our everyday language, “hypocrite” can mean many different things, but in Greek it simply means “an actor on a stage.” Therefore, a hypocrite is someone who plays a role, but it’s not really who they are.
A hypocrite is someone who follows Jesus as a role that they play at certain times, but not others — they follow Jesus part of the time, but He is not their whole lives.
A hypocrite is someone who acts like they are living for Jesus at church, but then reverts back to their “normal” role at home or school. Being a Christian is merely a role that they play when they have the right audience (church people), but when that audience is gone, they stop playing the role.
A true follower of Jesus follows Him when no one is watching, not just in the right crowd. They don’t wear masks because they don’t need to cover up who they really are in Christ.
I encourage you to make the choice to be a true, full-time follower of Jesus and take off the mask. Students, you do not have to fear making mistakes because you present yourselves to God knowing that He is merciful. Knowing that God is merciful and that we don’t have to be perfect enables us to take off the mask and be real.
In a school, community, and world that love to hide behind a mask, how will you be different?