Therefore, 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. Do 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 it–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
When you see the word sacrifice, what comes to mind? More than likely, you got an image of an alter with either an animal or person being killed. And yes, that is the dictionary definition. Do you ever think that there are things that we are making a choice on a daily basis to sacrifice our lives to? Work, entertainment, food, power and popularity are just a few things that we can be offering our bodies as a sacrifice to. But today, I want to look at the first two verses in Romans 12 to give us another picture of sacrifice. A living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to God.
When I first read this passage, I’m all on board for this living sacrifice to God thing. I mean really, it sounds like it’s the direct way to be holy and pleasing to God, so who wouldn’t want that? But how do I do this and what is God calling me to do? In verse two, we are told how to be living sacrifices. And here is where it gets not as appealing. It means making choices to not live as the world around us does, but to hold everything we put into our bodies, both physically and spiritually, up to the will of God.
In chapter 17 of Made to Crave, Lysa TerKeurst says, “Moment by moment we have the choice to live in our own strength and risk failure or to reach across the gap and grab hold of God’s unwavering strength. And the beautiful thing is, the more dependant we become on God’s strength, the less enamored we are with other choices.” I love this quote, because it really does nail down how I feel when I am living in God’s will. I’m not swayed by the other things I could be “enjoying”. I’m not feeling empty or lacking in any way.
Lysa also points out that we are making the choice. And isn’t that when being a living sacrifice becomes an intentional sacrifice! When push comes to shove, my choices and no one else’s determine what my life is be sacrificed to.
It’s those choices every day that are the hard part of the equation. Am I choosing to not watch that TV show that fills my mind with garbage? Am I choosing to not eat that piece of cake that will be gone before I feel better after a friend made a negative comment about something my kid did? Am I choosing to surround myself with positive and uplifting friends?
Choosing to fill my heart and mind with God’s word is how the renewing and transformation really occurs. And that will make being an intentional living sacrifice, not necessarily the easy choice, but the obvious choice.
What will you choose today?