A Living Sacrifice…A Loving Servant (Romans 12:1)
Romans 12:1, 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.
We are to be living sacrifices, not dead ones. If you are going to be totally devoted to the Lord, then you will need to surrender yourself to God and present your life as a living sacrifice to Him. God not only wants us to offer our body as a living sacrifice, He wants us to surrender our hearts or wills to Him. II Corinthians 8:5, And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. The Macedonian brethren exceeded Paul’s hope. They gave first of their very selves to the Lord and His work. When our heart is right, the LORD will have all of us. This is the will of God for us. His will is for us to first give ourselves to Him and then to His work. As believers, we are to be devoted to God and dedicated to live as He commands. This life is lived for God in holiness, purity, cleanliness, righteousness, and morality. Everything about us and all we have is to be dedicated to the worship and service of God. Anything less than total devotion is short of God's glory.
Paul spoke of his struggle of this battle and the hope in Jesus Christ. Galatians 5:16-17, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Our heart is the battlefield of wills… our will vs. God's will. Neither attitude wants to surrender or be defeated. The Spirit of God summons us to follow His gentle leading. Our fleshly nature makes every effort to cause us to sin. The battle is intense everyday. Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” Solomon pleaded for his son to give him his heart. Our heavenly Father asks the same of us. The invitation here is not to salvation, but to obedience and dedication. When we give our heart to Christ in day-to-day Christian living, we will avoid the pitfalls of sinful choices. A true disciple of Christ will pattern his life after the image of Christ.
In 490 B.C. as Xerxes was advancing into Greece, he came to Thermopylae, a small pass in central Greece. Herodotus tells us that by the time he got there, he had six million troops on land and sea. Gathered there to stop the advance of the powerful Persian monarch was a mere handful of Greeks headed up by 300 Spartans, led by the Spartan king Leonidas. When Persian troops came to check the pass, they saw 300 warriors brushing their long hair and doing calisthenics and other such things. Back they went to their master to report that some fools with weapons were playing games in the ravine. Demaratus, a Greek physician and counselor to the Persian court, assured the king they weren't playing games, they were performing a death ritual. These men had come to die! Many an unmarried man had volunteered, but Leonidas insisted on taking with him men who had living sons. They never meant to come back!
Love of Sparta motivated these men and it was the love for sinful mankind that moved the Lord Jesus Christ to come to this earth and die for our sins. The world may consider this foolish. They may consider the Gospel to be foolish. No matter what an ungodly world thinks, live for Christ. Missionary Jim Elliot, who died for the cause of Christ said, "He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep, to gain, what he cannot lose." He and the other four missionaries were willing to give their all for the Lord Jesus because they were sold out to the Lord. They considered themselves already dead before they went to the Auca Indians with the Gospel. They had presented themselves as living sacrifices to Christ. If God doesn't have our hearts, He doesn't have us. When our will is broken and yielded to Him, He can guide us on the path that He has prepared for us. God wants us to willingly give our hearts to Him. Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” When we love God with all our heart, mind, souls, and strength, our focus is on Him. We’re not consumed with ourselves. We’re consumed with our great God. May He increase in each of our lives as we love Him more and ourselves less!
A Living Sacrifice.
A living sacrifice means that a person dedicates his body to live for God and to keep on living for God. A living sacrifice does not mean just an occasional dedication, but a constant, continuous sacrifice, not of one's body. Sacrificing does not mean giving one’s body to God one day and then taking it back tomorrow.
A Loving Servant.
As loving servants our desire should be to bring the Lord pleasure. We should be committed to serving and ministering to others. We should seek to cause Him to joy and to rejoice in our bodies. Our bodies should be so dedicated to Him that God's heart is just flooded with joy and rejoicing.
PRAYER: LORD, You have been calling me to come closer to You. I present myself a living sacrifice for You to use however You choose. I want to live for You and serve You for the rest of my life. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.