Straight from a Youth Worker'ss Mouth – Flounder
Flounder: 1) to struggle awkwardly, as in deep mud 2) to speak or act in an awkward, confused manner 3) a flatfish caught for food
Romans 12 challenges us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices in response to God’s mercy, and not to be conformed to this world but rather to be transformed. As you are busy with homework, keeping up with friends, and spending time with your family, church and church family, how will you live a Romans 12 life?
How will you not "flounder" in your faith?
When we hear the word flounder it’s usually to refer to someone who is flip flopping or struggling. Now let’s consider the flounder that is a fish. It’s a weird looking fish with both of its eyes on one side of its head. Think about what would happen if you turned a flounder over — it couldn’t see!
When we can’t see, it’s easy to get lost and not to know where we are, especially if we are in the dark!
When you are at school you could "flounder" and flip over, or be influenced to flip over to the darkness of the world, drawing your vision/focus to the world and not to God. How are you going to keep from floundering? How are you going to stay right side up with your eyes facing up?
Romans 12 gives us some very practical advice starting in verse 3:
- Humility and sober judgment — do not think you know everything! Remember you are God’s. Be smart about your choices, especially when it comes to parties, homework and spending your money.
- Fellowship — each member of the body of Christ is connected to all the others. It is through these connections that we get support, wisdom and encouragement for the journey. So, take time and make time to be with other Christians.
- USE your gifts — Get involved in service projects and other outlets that allow you to use the talents and gifts God has given you. Whether you are gifted at organization, leadership, music, drama, writing, encouragement, or something else, God has a place for you!
- Love — love what is good, hate evil. Focus on the goodness and gentleness of God, and remember that the ways of God do not destroy or hurt others or ourselves.
- Know that it will be a ride!! Life with God is an adventure! Be open to God’s leading by being joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Remember there are people praying for you! Be sure to let your family and mentors know how you are doing and the best ways to be in prayer for you and with you.
And of course, read Romans 12 — and keep your eyes up!!!
Romans 12 (New International Version)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.