Mark 12:17 “And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.”
So often, we see the things around us and get caught up in the busyness of our life that we do not take the time needed to step back and meditate on our path and whether or not where we are headed is where God wants us to go.
Being shortsighted in any venture will surely be disastrous if not thought through properly. Being myopic in life will only bring regret. When we do not see ahead that the bridge is out or there is trouble ahead, we pass on into something God could have guided us to avoid.
The people of Jesus day could not clearly see what He was saying, especially the Pharisees. They tried to fit Jesus into their theology, and He continually tried to break them of theirs.
Such a simple statement: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
And yet, so profound when we apply it in our lives!
When I take into consideration the truth of this passage:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.“
We can understand and acknowledge this truth, but what does it look like when we live it out in our lives? We make decisions every day that affect so many things and so many people. We deceive ourselves when we do something selfish, telling ourselves that we are only hurting ourselves.
In fact, if we believe that God will never leave us nor forsake us, He is ever-present with us throughout our lives.
So, if we acknowledge that this body, this life that we have been given by God, is His, we must take up possession of the role of steward.
Because we have been given free will to choose, taking up that responsibility has consequences. Neglecting them has as well.
If He purchased me (and He did!), I must follow the purpose, plan, and direction that the Owner desires – not mine.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.“
To render means to give away, give over, relinquish ownership, or yield to the Owner. If we are to render unto God the things which are God’s, we must start with our mind, will, and emotions.
To render my mind it to allow only that which would please the Owner. God shows us:
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
As good stewards, we must guard and keep for the Owner that which belongs to Him.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”
Psalm 141:3 “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
It is in our human nature to want control. Fear comes when we cannot see the outcome. Faith places the result in God’s hands and rests in the fact that my Heavenly Father knows what is best.
To render this life back into the hands of the One who created it should seem natural, reasonable, and right. Yet, we resist and even fight to relinquish our claim and desire to have, go, or be something.
Before I can render this life unto my God, I must first be humble to admit He truly owns everything. My dreams, desires, wants, and wishes must all be laid on the altar. To watch them burn might cause some twinge of regret in us.
That is selfishness leaving our body.
The apostle Paul knew very well the battle that ensues when we yield our all to God. He gave great detail in Romans 7.
Romans 7:22-25 “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
This rendering takes sacrifice.
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. 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.”
When we present our bodies that living sacrifice, the fruit of it will look just like Jesus.
Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
Now is the time for God’s children to declare who is the owner of their life. If we stand and take possession, God tells what kind of life that will be. But, if we allow God to take control, we can be privy to a life we could never have dreamed possible.
Which will you choose?