“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” – Romans 12:1.
Sacrifice has always been a running theme in superhero movies. It is common to see a superhero(s) willingly put their life in danger to protect others. Look at Man of Steel, where Superman sacrifices his freedom to protect the people he loves. Look at Thor, where the humbled hero shields his friends despite being powerless.
In the same way, Christians are called to sacrifice our dreams, our reputations, maybe even our lives for the sake of the Gospel. But what is sacrifice, and how can I know what God expects of me?
Most of us who are followers of Jesus have said or prayed “God I want your will for my life and I will do what you call me to do” at some point in our walk with God. It may have been said in church, or in your quiet time or devotions. We may have sung the line from a worship song. We want to be the living sacrifice that Paul talks about in Romans 12:1. The challenge for most of us is how to move that statement past the rhetoric stage. Evangelist D.L. Moody once said that, “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.”
So what does it mean to be a living sacrifice? What does a living sacrifice look like in the practical sense? A living sacrifice would require surrender; surrender of something we all prize—our bodies—for something that has a higher purpose—worshiping the God of all creation, who has given us this life to begin with. This sacrifice is a living one, not dead. That’s encouraging. Presenting our bodies does not imply some physical death or bodily punishment.
That means all of our body parts. For example, if our feet take us somewhere we should not be. Or our lips say things that hurt and harm others. Our eyes see things they should not see and our ears hear things we should not hear. And then there is our heart. If our hearts are given to God as living sacrifices, then He is free to give us His love for people, and we’ll start to discover that we care about people we never had cared about before.
When we realize that our bodies are living sacrifices, then we are invited into a relationship with Jesus that allows Him to lead, direct, and even push us in a certain way. Our fears are now His to handle. Our possessions are now His to use. Our gifts and talents are His instruments. Today consider what it means to say to Jesus, “take my life, a living sacrifice to you.”
- What is the most challenging idea of being a “living sacrifice”?
- What fears did you find that God now wants you to sacrifice?
- If you are able to sacrifice those fears, then what do you sense God will be calling you to do as His living sacrifice?