By Jerelyn Pearson


I recently celebrated my 60th birthday. I have never before had a problem transitioning from one decade to another. I was really happy when I turned 10 and finally had 2 digits in my age. When I became 20, I was excited about planning a wedding, completing my college education, and beginning my career. At 30, I had a two year old daughter and was enjoying the experience of motherhood. By 40, I had been single again for a while and was learning how to manage my parenting, career, and social responsibilities in a new way. At 50, I was 4 years into my wonderful marriage and enjoying my new expanded family. I don’t mean to imply that everything always flowed smoothly. Of course there were peaks and valleys, tranquil and turbulent times during those years. But the actual transition from decade to decade never seemed to be a big issue.

Somehow though, the realization that my sixties are here has given me pause to think. Time has a way of moving relentlessly on without a break. And now it seems to be moving faster. Having reached 60, I realize that I am past the halfway point of my life. Not many people live to be 120 anymore. And that brings me to the issue I’m focusing on as I turn 60: Have I made the most of the time I’ve had? The answer to that question is, "No, I haven’t." So that brings me to the next question: What am I going to do with the time I have left?

As I look back over the years in terms of my relationship with God and his Son Jesus Christ, I see times of being in close fellowship and times of avoiding or resisting fellowship. (Isn’t it sin we are supposed to avoid or resist?) I thank God that especially during the past 15 years, he has brought me through a time of close fellowship and spiritual growth. This is the path on which I want to continue.

So I have a question for you. How do you want to spend your time? Do you want to know God’s will and do it?

I know that he has a plan for all of us and for each of us. I want to know what God’s personal plan for me is so I can do his will for my life. You probably feel the same way.

In order to know the personal plan God has for me, it is necessary to know about God’s overall plan, in which my individual plan must fit. In Romans 12:1-2 Paul is speaking to the Christians at Rome when he says:

Romans 12:1-2:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Well I don’t know about you, but to me, presenting my body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God seems like an impossible task more than a reasonable service. Thank God that He doesn’t just leave us hanging there to figure out how to do this on our own!

God enabled each of us to be a living sacrifice, because He gave us life. While we live is when we can serve God and do His will and fulfill His purpose in our lives. The time to serve God is now. We can help each other remember this. In fact it is our duty.

Hebrews 3:13:
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

So how do we as individuals accomplish this awesome task of presenting our bodies a living sacrifice? It is only by the mercies of God that we can accomplish such a thing.

One thing we are not supposed to do is to conform to this world. We cannot conform to this world, or worldly thinking, and be a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God at the same time. But how do we resist being conformed to this world? It is very difficult not to pay attention to the distractions all around us. We are bombarded with constant competition for out attention. God provides a way: by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

It is an ongoing struggle to disregard the patterns of this world. That is why our renewal is an ongoing process. We are renewed as we are transformed by the power of God. But how it this possible? We are changed by what we behold.

1 Corinthians 3:18:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Titus 3:5-6 speaks of "the renewing of the Holy Ghost which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour." We have this same Holy Spirit dwelling within us. It is the Holy Ghost that renews us as we submit ourselves to God.

We weren’t saved by our works of righteousness, but according to his mercy. We can’t continue in the performance of righteous works on our own either. But we can do his will because he enables us to in his mercy, through his holy Spirit, who is with us always enabling us to continue to bring our thoughts into obedience of Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5:
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

At the same time that we work to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, we are cautioned not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We each need to remember that God has given every believer the measure of faith. The only reason I can aspire to be a living sacrifice is because God has given me the measure of faith to do this. And I’m not the only one he gave it to. I am only one member in the body of Christ.

Romans 12:3-5:
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

All I am supposed to do is my job, but I am responsible for my job. I am not isolated in doing my part. I’m part of a body. We are members of one another. I can’t just isolate myself to do my job because my job involves and affects the other members who each have their jobs to do also.

God’s overall plan includes a body made up of individual members who work together with him to accomplish his plan. It is very encouraging to know that I am part of the Body of Christ. What a support group! God is so gracious. He even goes into great detail with practical instruction so that we can accomplish his will. Through Paul, he proceeds to give us many practical suggestions. They are really more than suggestions; perhaps duties would be a better description.

Romans 12:6-8:
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

When God created day and night, he provided a time for work and a time for rest. Each day is like a new beginning, a new opportunity to seek and to do God’s will, a time to renew our focus. What better way to begin each morning than to pray and read the Bible! I encourage you to read and study the specific duties that Paul listed in Romans 12:6-21.

What are we supposed to do? Present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God which is our reasonable service. How? Don’t be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Why? To prove that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

It’s not that I dread being 60 years old. I’m actually thankful for the opportunity. What I do with my time seems so much more important and I don’t want to waste any of it since it has become a precious commodity. I want to be sure that the way I spend my time is according to God’s will. After all, it’s not my time; it’s his.



From the December 2006 issue of The Vine & Branches