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  • Writer's pictureMyles Hester

How Do You Present Yourself?

Updated: May 12

When we talk about how people present themselves, we can mean any number of things: how they dress, how they talk, their posture, even their hygiene and things like that. We understand that we can “present ourselves” differently in different contexts. I would not walk into a job interview wearing a hoodie and gym shorts any more than I would climb into bed at night wearing a tux and dress shoes!

 

I have never really met any sort of celebrity or high-ranking public official, but I know that if I got the opportunity, I would have to dress appropriately for the occasion. Think about this idea in a context other than just meeting someone famous or powerful, but representing them. For example, there are very specific rules for how the British royal family is to conduct themselves in public. For diplomats, there is an extremely high level of decorum and professionalism that is expected of them when representing their homeland. Now think about it this way: how do you represent God? How do you “present yourself” before Him?

 

In Romans 12:1-2, we read an incredible answer to how we should answer this question. Paul begins by saying “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice…” It is clear that Paul feels strongly about what he is about to say. He does not just quietly or discretely imply that we should do this, but he implores them as brothers, making his appeal on the foundation of God’s mercy! But what does this mean? In the first several chapters of Romans, Paul has talked extensively about God’s mercy. While not taken from Romans, Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:4-5 beautifully summarizes Paul’s view of God’s mercy and its implications: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…” He continues, but the fundamental point is this: we were dead because of sin, but by God’s grace and mercy, we are alive again. So how does this connect back to Romans 12?

 

Remember, it is because of this incredible mercy that we are told to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, but Paul does not stop there. In describing how we should be as “living sacrifices,” Paul tells us to be sure our bodies are “holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” If we are created in the image of God (which we are), and desire to serve Him (which we do), then we cannot do things with our bodies that profane them! Several “profane” behaviors are laid out for us in the next chapter, when Paul says, “the night is far gone, the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:12-14). In other words, if we are going to present our bodies as holy, we cannot “take it easy” and be casual about sin! Our “worship” will be tainted by our sinful conduct, just as lambs and bulls in the Old Testament had blemishes at times that meant they were not able to be used in the sacrifices commanded under the Old Law. Go back to our example of meeting a celebrity or world leader, or even going on a first date with someone you are trying to impress. You would want to make sure and have fresh breath, have your hair done, make sure your clothes are not wrinkly or stained, etc. If we care that much about a date with someone we do not know, then of course we want to be even more careful how we “present ourselves” spiritually to God!

 

Paul even gives us some specific advice for how to present ourselves better before God. We are not to be conformed but transformed! Many people have made terrible decisions using the excuse of “I’m not the only one.” It can be easy to hide behind the idea that “everyone is doing it” or “that’s just the world we live in now” or “its not that big of a deal,” and those commonly are in fact the ways the world looks at sin. However, if we want to present ourselves acceptably, we have to “transform” our mindset. Sin is not something we dabble in, play around with, or “tolerate.” As we see in the rest of Romans 12:2, this way of presenting ourselves requires testing, in order that we may “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

 

Living a Christian life is making Christ-like decisions, even when it is difficult and unpopular. It is staying away from sin even when “everyone else is doing it.” It is going through testing, and relying on what God says is good, acceptable, and perfect, so that we can have a new and improved outlook on life. If we do these things, by the grace of God, then we will continue to successfully present ourselves as holy and acceptable living sacrifices before our Heavenly Father.

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