“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, *that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,* holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” – Rom. 12:1.
The new testament believer is called to live as a very different kind of sacrifice from the Israelites. While in the old testament, animals are placed on the altar, restrained or incapacitated, in our case God is asking us to climb onto the altar ourselves, and not leave the altar while the fire burns. What a dramatic request! Not leave the altar while the fire burns us, even though we are unrestrained?
What this means, first of all, is our life as Christians is a sacrificial one through and through. The flesh lusts against the spirit, that is, the desires of the flesh are contrary to those of the spirit (Gal. 5:17), and you get what you pay attention to. *If you pay attention to the flesh, sin gains a stronger hold on you, and if you pay attention to the spirit, you grow in Christ.* This is the first thing to recognize as a believer, that a life of sacrifice means saying no to the flesh. And God asks us to climb onto this altar ourselves. “Present your bodies,” the Word says.
This sacrifice is two-fold. First, sacrifice for your own spiritual growth. What is preventing your spiritual growth? Is it sleep? Love of money? Sex? Food? Fashion? Desire for acceptance? Wrong mindset? Unwillingness to give up the comforts of illicit money? Whatever it is, remember, Jesus said it is better that a person enters the Kingdom of heaven blind than to spend eternity in hell with both eyes. There is grace available to cut away everything that holds you back from spiritual growth. Subjecting ourselves to the Word will prune us, and that pruning is not comfortable. Everything you enjoyed doing before you got saved, and now your spirit pulls you in a different direction, the Word says present your bodies. You would have made a quick buck by signing a document, present your bodies. You would have had mind-blowing sex with that guy, but now, present your bodies. The road to spiritual maturity, the point where you live no longer for yourself but for others, is carved with sacrificial living.
Second, sacrifice for others. Can you put others first as Jesus did for us? Can you place others’ comfort, spiritual advancement as higher priority than your comfort? The ultimate goal is to be ready for the Lord’s return; can you love the unsaved enough to sacrifice for the spread of the gospel? Can you deny yourself some luxuries just so the local assembly can be better equipped for the ministry work? Can you pray a few hours instead of sleeping?
The more you choose to deny yourself something that has no spiritual value, when such a sacrifice is truly required, the less hold such things have over your spiritual advancement.
Paul told us he dies daily to self. Whatever is important to each of us – our money, our public image, our time, our fashion, even our life, and so on, should not be so great that the Holy Spirit is reluctant to ask for its use for His will. Paul said all these he counted as waste just so that he would win Christ. What do you have, material or immaterial, the Holy Spirit would be reluctant to ask for because you’re not fully drained of self?Consider Abraham who was willing to offer his son of promise to God, proving to God that nothing God had given him was to big to be offered back, and showing his trust that God could replenish.
A life of voluntary sacrifice is what God has called us to. It’s a life where God asks you to voluntarily place yourself on the altar of sacrifice. Your spirit will soar above this world when the Lord returns, and one reason is because it is not held down or attached to any earthly possessions or achievements.
God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Devotional #DiligentBibleStudy #GrowingInFaith #TheDailyWord