Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1 (NASB)
What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? First, it means a living sacrifice can get up off the altar. I’ve always been amazed that in the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, Isaac, a strong young man, lay docilely on the altar while his father, a decrepit old man, laid wood, bound him, and drew a knife to kill him. My pastor, Reverend Kevin Miller, started a new sermon series this Sunday morning on Romans 12. Like Isaac, we are to present ourselves as a sacrifice; but not a dead one. Jesus already did the dying for us. He died that we might live, and in living, be a living sacrifice for Him.
Pastor Kevin did a great job of illustrating how we tend to compartmentalize our lives by sticking post-it notes on his shirt with words like family, talent, money, job, etc. We think we’re doing God a favor by giving Him some of our “stuff”–a bit of our money, or using a particular talent in His service, or whatever. But the truth of the matter is God doesn’t want or need our stuff. It’s all His anyway, and if we think it’s not, we’re fooling ourselves. He wants all of us.
Second, we’re to be a holy sacrifice. I saw on Facebook this morning that a “Christian” rock star has “come out” as being gay. Christians are to live a transparent life. I don’t know the lifestyle this man is living. If he is simply sharing his struggle against homosexuality, that’s one thing and admirable; but if he’s living a gay lifestyle, its sin, plain and simple. The same is true of any sexual activity outside the marriage relationship. It doesn’t matter whether gay or straight.
Sin isn’t restricted to sexual activity though. The New Testament definition of sin is even more expanded than the Old. Not just our actions, but our motivations behind our actions are called into question. Our Connect Group lesson went right along with Pastor Kevin’s sermon. Jesus rebuked the “hypocrites” who outwardly appeared righteous, but whose hearts were far from God. Christians are not perfect. We never will be in this life, but we are to be constantly striving toward it.
And finally, a sacrifice—what are we holding back? Believe me, as a mother who’s already had to lose her child, I know how hard sacrifice is. I honestly think I would have found dying myself much easier. Through it all though, I found God is faithful. He loves me. He loved my daughter. And He loves you. I don’t know why Kara had to die. But I know she’s safe in His arms. What a Blessed Assurance that is. In any circumstance, this life is short. He has made a way for us to spend all of eternity with Him.
Pastor Kevin gave us a blank check and asked us what would keep us from signing it. I signed mine. Is there something that would keep you from signing one too?