“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
Making one’s self a living sacrifice is a difficult thing, as there is always a desire to slip off the altar, and escape. There are so many things that can stand in the way of true surrender, as we are creatures who have a will and are driven by pride, and a need to save face.
As for me, I am but a squirmy piece of meat, trying constantly to get off the altar. I battle against the meat hooks, trying to tear myself loose. The more I struggle, the more I damage myself, as I have come to depend on the mercies of God.
As I read through Romans 12, I was instructed on what making one’s self a living sacrifice looks like, and was also reminded as to why I can struggle with it.
It is most applicable in my dealings with others. I am one who loves the quiet of solitude, and human interactions can be tremendously enervating.
In those moments when I must be with other people, I lean on the spiritual gifts the Lord has given me. Part of being a living sacrifice is ministering to others by the spiritual gifts.
“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Romans 12:4-8 NKJV
I give up the autonomy of thinking of myself as one standing alone, and instead, find myself humbled to be a part of the greater whole. I do not esteem myself above anyone else, but only as a part of the body of Christ, sacrificing my pride to bring glory to Jesus.
As I have moved through my faith life, I have seen the number of things that I do diminished, as health and mobility have limited me. This has brought a focusing of sorts, as I have gained new gifts, as I have become an intercessor, praying for the saints.
Living in the greater world, provides many tests for the living sacrifice, especially in these times when there is a direct onslaught against the people of God. In these times of great testing, we are not only sacrifices to God of ourselves, but often we are sacrificed by others, as many of us are being killed for our faith.
Even in these times, we are to be Christians, loving those who persecute us. We love in the face of the struggle.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
Romans 12:14-19 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, let us be living sacrifices in and out of church, as we represent the ultimate living sacrifice,the Lord Jesus, who went to the cross for our sins, who died and rose again that we have salvation and newness of life.
We have been given a great message of redemption that the world must hear. Let not our unwillingness to be humbled, our unwillingness to cede to the meat hooks, standing in the way of our being living sacrifices.
When we go back out into this world in the coming week, let us take with us the mind of Christ, considering all we encounter as souls Jesus came to save.