Thursday, May 22, 2014

Living Sacrifice

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:1-3)
What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?  How does this differ from sacrificing?

The phrase 'living sacrifice' often stops my reading.  What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?  That's different from offering a sacrifice.  I can sacrifice my time or my money, but that's not offering myself as a living sacrifice.

My first thought when I hear it is that the sacrifice is what dies.  Think about a battle.  The commander may know that his plan means that 1,000 soldiers will die, but that is an acceptable sacrifice because of the greater cause.  To sound like Star Trek, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

It all comes down to trust.  In order to offer myself - me -  not my time, not my gifts, not my money - as a living sacrifice, I have to trust God.  I have to believe that I am loved by God.  If I trust God enough, then I can say, as Wesley did:
I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

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