“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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” - Romans 12:1-2
Dictionary.com defines the word sacrifice as “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.” By this definition, every act of sacrifice has behind it an exchange. Whether it is a parent surrendering sleep to care for a newborn or a dieter giving up certain desserts in order to lose weight, the process of sacrifice begins with finding something better that can be gained in exchange.
In today’s verses from Romans 12, what is the bigger purpose that followers of Jesus are to sacrificially exchange their lives for as an act of worship? Answer: God’s glory. We are called to be living sacrifices in order to display the worth of God (v. 1)! John Piper describes this act of worship this way:
“Let every act of your body in living be an act of worship. That is, let every act of your living body be a demonstration that God is your treasure. Let every act of your living body show that Christ is more precious to you than anything else. Let every act of your living body be a death to all that dishonors Christ.’
Our lives are to display our devotion to the One we worship, who has set us free from sin and death (Romans 8:1-2). This begins with a heart that is surrendered and continues as we daily offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God’s plan and purpose. Jesus expressed this reality to His disciples by saying, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23).
God desires to leverage your life for more than what you can see and what our culture sells. 2019 is another opportunity to present yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord and allow Him to transform your life. As this happens, it allows you to more clearly understand His good and acceptable and perfect will (v. 2).
The universal sign of surrender is waving a white flag (cloth, handkerchief) because white is color of purity and nonaggression. It communicates, “I give up fighting.” Take a few moments today and make a fresh surrender of every aspect of your life to the Lord.
In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions:
- Do you struggle to release control of your decisions and trust God? See Proverbs 3:5-6
- How is God leading you to leverage your time, talent, and treasure for His glory? See Acts 20:24
- How are you allowing God to renew your mind on a daily basis? See Galatians 5:19-22