About that “living sacrifice” Paul recommends …

Sharing something this morning that has had an impact on me. I don’t have Facebook to do the normal “Share” thing … so I’m quoting it here.

First, Paul’s words —

Romans 12:1
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.

 These thoughts are from Bible Gateway’s daily “NIV Devotions for Women” (but it’s something for you men to think about too.)

How would you describe your body? Would you use the words “living sacrifice”? Do you view your body as God’s? Or do you compare your appearance to others’ and worry about what others think of your body, primarily because you want to be noticed or to feel a sense of approval? The purpose of your body, in fact the purpose of your life, is to glorify God by loving him and loving others. It’s not about you. It’s really not about you. It’s about laying down your life—heart, mind, soul and body—all for the sake of God’s kingdom.

If you are like me, your habit has been to do one of two things with Romans 12:1. Either you read it and register it as a negative command — don’t give your body to sinful acts — or you breeze right through that first verse and focus on verse 2 where Paul urges us to let God transform our minds.

Let’s do neither of those things today.

Let’s think about handing our bodies over to God. Offering them up as sacrifices to our Creator and Savior.

It’s easy for me to say that my heart, mind, and soul are devoted to my God.  But my body?

Most of us women tend to think of our bodies in terms of how we think others see us. Our choices in dress, exercise, “improvements” to appearance, training, our health regimen, even our gestures and body language are all considered personal decisions that have little connection to our faith and discipleship.

We’ve somehow disconnected our bodies from heart and mind and soul. We make decisions about how we treat and use our bodies based on others’ opinions and our own desires. If we’re trying to lose weight, we’re doing it for our own vanity or to please our husband, or … for our own personal reasons. And may I suggest that losing weight for ourselves is just as far from Romans 12:1 as is dieting to please your husband.

Don’t misunderstand — I am not arguing that getting enough exercise, giving our bodies needed rest, paying attention to the nutritional value of the food we eat, saying no to things harmful to our bodies, are all undesirable and unnecessary things. “Taking care of ourselves” is a good thing. When I do these things, I am more able to cope with daily stress, my mind is sharper, and I am simply a better friend, mother, grandmother, employee.

But it makes all the difference in the world if I am doing these things for others and/or myself … or if I have said to God, “I am giving up my body to you. To be used by you, for the sake of the Kingdom. It’s not mine, for my glory. It’s yours. From now until the end of my days, whatever I do with this part of me I want to do for your glory.”

I find it easier to say, “I’m giving my life to you, Father. I dedicate my work to you. Consecrate my keyboard” than to say, “Here’s my body. You have my heart and mind and soul. But somehow, I’ve kept my body apart, as a thing for me. To serve my purposes. Now I’m laying it down on the altar of sacrifice. This too will be for your Kingdom. You can have all of me.”

I’ve only caught a glimpse of what this sacrifice and true worship could mean in my life.
Everything in the culture of the world around us argues against this idea and this sacrifice.

But the Spirit reminds us: You do not belong to this world 

I belong to Him. Every part of me. 

 

 

 

 

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