Living Sacrifices and True Worship
Romans 12:1 NIV
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
Now that we have received God’s mercy and grace through Jesus Christ, how shall we respond? Will we continue to live according to our old ways driven by the flesh? Or will we live according to the Spirit of God (Romans 8:5-14)? Our response is to offer ourselves to God, as a living sacrifice. Instead of offering an animal on an altar as a sacrifice unto the Lord (as Jews and many other religions practiced), Jesus paid that price for us, and now we climb up on the altar ourselves, we offer ourselves back to God for his use. This is “holy and pleasing to God.” To be holy is to be set apart for God’s use. This is actually an expression of worship to honor and glorify God. Worship isn’t just a time on Sunday mornings when we gather in God’s presence with our church family to sing songs, give money to God, and hear a word from the Lord. “True and proper worship” is when we offer ourselves to God on a daily, even moment by moment, basis as a sacrifice set apart for him and his use. Is your response to God’s amazing grace true worship? How are you offering yourself as a living sacrifice to him on a daily basis as your worshipful response? We know how difficult this is to do because we cling to our selfish sinful nature even though it has been crucified with Christ and no,longer lives, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20). Which is why the Apostle Paul goes on to write:
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2, NLT
In order to know and follow God’s will, instead of following the behaviors and customs of this world, and our selfish nature, we need to continue to let God transform the way we think. Our thinking drives our behavior. We need to fill and renew our minds with his truth rather than the lies we believe and accept from our culture and our own sinful desires. Changing your thinking to align with God’s Word, leads to knowing God’s will, what he wants you to do. Then as you take steps of faith in that direction God empowers you, through the Holy Spirit, to change your behavior to actually follow his will. Are you spending time in God’s Word reading and reflecting on it so your thoughts are being transformed by his truth, so you know what his will is and can act on it by faith, offering yourself to God as a spiritual act of worship?