I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1I've been thinking about being a living sacrifice, and what that means. For most of my life I've thought of it in the sense of giving something up: sacrificing conveniences for God. But it occurred to me the other day that Paul wasn't talking about American sacrifices, he was referencing animal sacrifices in the temple. He was talking about death!
I went on YouTube to watch an animal sacrifice, but I was too disturbed by the pictures to actually watch any videos. Sacrifices are slit throats and bloodbaths. They're dying when you've done nothing wrong. But we aren't called to die a bloody death, we're called to be a living sacrifice. What does that mean? What does it look like?
I could be wrong, but it sounds like a living sacrifice is one that never dies. It's slitting your spiritual throat and draining your spiritual lifeblood every day. It's following the example of the Lamb, who emptied Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Who had compassion on the crowds, even when they wouldn't give Him a chance to rest.
The great thing is, the perfection that makes us good enough to be sacrificed (only perfect animals were acceptable sacrifices, remember) is Christ's sacrifice. The lifeblood that we're supposed to be pouring out is His! There is no way I could do something so insane as continually die (which is the Christian life). But it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me, so it is not Sarah's life that is being poured out, but Christ's life through Sarah.
So it comes down to this: I am called to die continually, to sacrifice everything at all times. But in order to do that, my life cannot be my own. It's all about Christ, it's all for Christ, it's all through Christ.
I hope this all makes sense. And I hope it encourages you as much as it has encouraged and challenged me. We serve a God who is worthy of such sacrifice, and so much more!
Love and Peace,