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Give Your Lives to God

12 1So brothers [and sisters], I beg you to do something. God has shown us great mercy. So offer your lives as a living sacrifice* to God. Your offering must be only for God and will be pleasing to him. This offering of yourselves is the spiritual way for you to worship (serve) God.

2Don't change yourselves to be like the people of this world. But be changed inside yourselves with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what things are good and pleasing to God and what things are perfect.

3God has given me a special gift. That is why I have something to say to every person among you. Don't think that you are better than you really are. You must see yourself like you really are. Decide what you are by the kind of faith God has given you. 4Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don't all do the same thing. 5In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body. And each part of that body belongs to all the other parts. 6We all have different gifts. Each gift came because of the grace (kindness) that God gave us. If a person has the gift of prophecy,* then that person should use that gift with the faith he has. 7If a person has the gift of serving, then that person should serve. If a person has the gift of teaching, then that person should teach. 8If a person has the gift of comforting other people, then that person should comfort. If a person has the gift of giving to help other people, then that person should give freely. If a person has the gift of being a leader, then that person should work hard when he leads. If a person has the gift of showing kindness to other people, then that person should be glad to do that.

9Your love must be real. Hate the things that are evil. Do only the things that are good. 10Love each other in a way that you feel close to each other like brothers and sisters. You should want to give your brothers and sisters more honor than you want for yourself.

11Don't be lazy when you need to be working for the Lord. Be spiritually excited about serving him. 12Be happy because you have hope. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. 13Share with God's people that need help. Look for people that need help, and welcome those people into your homes. 14Say only good things to those people that do bad things to you. Say good things to them and don't curse them. 15When other people are happy, you should be happy with them. And when other people are sad, you should be sad with them. 16Live together in peace with each other. Don't be proud. Be willing to be friends with people who are not important to other people. Don't be conceited.

17If someone does wrong to you, don't pay him back by doing wrong to him. Try to do the things that all people think are good. 18Do the best you can to live in peace with all people. 19My friends, don't try to punish people when they do wrong to you. Wait for God to punish them with his anger. It is written: "I am the One who punishes; I will pay people back,"* says the Lord. 20But you should do this: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if your enemy is thirsty, give him something to drink. In this way you will make that person ashamed.*"* 21Don't let evil defeat you. You should defeat evil by doing good.

sacrifice An offering or gift to God. gift of prophecy The ability that God gives a person to speak for him. "I am ... back" Quote from Deut. 32:35. you will make that person ashamed Literally, "you will pour burning coals on his head." People in Old Testament times often put ashes on their heads to show they were sad or sorry. "If your ... ashamed" Quote from Prov. 25:21-22.

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