When you read Romans 12, you see Paul urging us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. As you read this, you may ask yourself how this may look. Or why does he urge us to do so.
You see brothers and sisters, giving up your lives is probably the most precious thing to you. Yes, you may have blessings such as wealth and health but at the core, your life matters most. Paul is asking us to sacrifice the thing that is the most important to us as a response to God. Paul doesn’t make suggestions about giving up your life. He urges us to give ourselves up completely. The reason we’re urged to give ourselves up entirely for God is because, sacrificing our bodies is worth more than any material thing this world has to offer. Living in sacrifice for God is our new reality. It’s our new way of doing and thinking. (Paul Washer, 2019
You may hear many individuals tell you to live for God. To be sacrificial for God. But where is the motivation you may ask? What will lead us to live a sacrificial life. The answer comes in the previous chapters of Romans. God shed his mercies and grace on us. He gave up his life as a sacrifice for us. This is where we find the passion to live in sacrifice for God. It’s not in material rewards or creative feel good programs. It’s in the sacrifice that lead us to know that we should be obedient and live a life worthy of His calling.
Again, telling you to live a life that is holy and acceptable to God is one thing. But knowing why you should do it, matters. Knowing the mercies of God towards you and your shortcomings is what will motivate you to not be conformed to this world. It’s what will help transform your mind and your actions.
The mercies God shed for us on the cross is our salvation. Truly knowing the life, He laid down is what calls us to transform. It’s what calls us to be different. This is where we go from ideas and thoughts to realities. Where we become doers of God’s word and calling.
Here is a quick example: When you love someone, you respond to that love. You respond with them in mind and at the center. We don’t respond with the idea or expectation of any form of re payment. Marriage is a good example of this. As my wife shows her love to me, she does it by accepting me just the way I am. She looks past all the exterior junk and investigates what matters most. My heart. As she expresses her love, there is only one thing I want to do, and that is to reciprocate that love. As I show her love back, I don’t do it according to what I feel is required or what I feel it should look like. I get to know my wife. I talk to her. I ask her questions. I listen to her and get to know her. Due to this, my response isn’t forced or fabricated. It’s a response to something greater. Her grace and mercy towards me. Her acceptance of me.
I often walk around and tell myself, “If they only knew the old me, they wouldn’t be this nice towards me”. Well that can be harmful in the sense that I wouldn’t receive the love from my wife or in a greater sense God. I was different at one point, but God saved me. He rescued me from the pit of hell. Only He has the power to do so. In response to that, I should not only want but need to live a life that is contrary to normal belief.
Giving up our lives seems so drastic. But is it really? Knowing what was done for us, makes this idea of sacrificial living totally worth it. Almost non questionable. The problem to live as such comes when we aren’t fully aware of God’s grace. We get stuck thinking we are to please the world still and therefore don’t operate in the will of God.
God is the one who gives us life. Let’s not be afraid of man. Because all they can do is destroy our bodies. But God is the one who can not only take our life but our soul. I don’t say this to persuade you with fear. This fear doesn’t matter when we learn of His grace.
Let’s worship God in our daily actions and thoughts. Let’s pray and connect with God. Let’s love our neighbors. Let’s show grace and urge each other to know God more. Let’s fall deeper in love with He who gave us life and eternity
A Living Sacrifice:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]Romans 12 English Standard Version (ESV)