Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer 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.”
Yesterday, I asked you to think about what it meant to “offer your body as a living sacrifice.” Let’s take some time and think through what this looks like.
Paul’s readers would have been familiar with dead animal sacrifices as opposed to a “living sacrifice”. God is much more concerned with our hearts than He is with what we bring Him. He’s concerned with the internal, not the external. It makes me think of Hosea 6:6, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” You see, what Paul has been telling us is that God desires an internal commitment and character transformation over the external rituals. Our relationship with God never was about a bunch of external rituals—you do this and I’ll do that. For example…we can’t go to church and then think “I’m doing the right things, now God will do His part”. Walking with God is based on a vibrant relationship, a living relationship with God that was made possible because of Jesus’ death.
How do we do this? Think back to what Paul already told us about our relationship with God, “…we’re to consider ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (6:11).”. To be alive to Christ means that we continually offer ourselves for the Lord’s glory. I’m talking about “all” of yourself; you in your totality.
So what does that mean? It simply means the different roles, responsibilities, and resources that make you…you. That’s what Paul was talking about when he said “your body”. He was talking about your whole self—your entire being.
What does that look like for you? First, think about who you are; identify the different things that make you who you are. For me, it looks like the following: I’m a father, grandfather, brother, a son, an uncle, pastor, small group leader, friend, husband, veteran, a mentor, a protégé, runner, and story teller. These are just a few of the different roles that make me, me. Then, there is my personality and all the different ways it works within these roles…and I haven’t even mentioned the resources that God has given me. All of this makes me distinctly me. Throughout today I will operate within at least one of these capacities. Paul said that I should offer it all to God as a “living sacrifice”! Why? Because it is Holy and pleasing to the Lord! Everything I do in all the different capacities of my life are to be done for His Glory.
Today that means typing out devotions, answering a phone call, working on an ice machine, meeting with a guy, checking on a sick grandkid, cutting the grass, cleaning the house, cooking dinner, spending time with Patty, and doing small group—all of it done for the glory of God!
It’s funny how, when you view it from this perspective, it changes your attitude. We don’t do life with a sense of drudgery; we realize all we do has eternal value. It’s true! Even if we don’t fully understand it, it all has value because it all brings glory to God.
Join with me in thinking about the roles, responsibilities, and resources that God has given you to operate in today. How might you offer your body as a living sacrifice?
What is a barrier to you living this kind of life? What can you do to avoid it?
Now pray and ask God to give you the grace and mercy to live for Him.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.