The Living Sacrifice
Pastor Steve Ellison
Being a Christian is all about relationships, especially The Relationship, the relationship with Almighty God. Our other relationships can be used to evaluate our relationship to God.
Romans 12:1-2 describes the starting point for all our relationships. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”. NASU I am instructed to surrender myself and my desires “to the mercies of God”. I should not surrender to some need that I think needs to be met. I should not surrender myself to some duty I think is mine. I should not surrender to some obligation I think I owe. If I surrender to any of those things, I will grow weary and experience “burnout” in my efforts. My submission, my offering of myself as a living sacrifice must be in response to that which He has already done for me, “the mercies of God”.
God always acts first. He is always the first cause. He does not expect anything from us until He has already done everything. Anything we ever do that might be construed as ministry to God or in His name will always be simply a response to what He has already done. Our efforts can never be an effort to earn something from Him because He has already given everything. Our surrender to God must be a free-will thank offering not an attempt to atone for our sin. That need has already been met by Christ on the cross. I cannot add to that work; I can only express gratitude for it.
My presenting my life as a living sacrifice is really allowing my life to become a vehicle for His life. I am not called to live for Christ; rather I am called to allow the resurrected Christ to use my physical body, to live through me. I do not surrender so that I can live for Christ; I surrender so He can live through me. This is not simply semantics, playing with words. It is a radically different way of approaching life. It is a way to experience the abundant life, freedom in Christ.
Because I am a “living sacrifice” it is obvious that my surrender must be repeated daily. I am not dead, thus I still have a “self-centered will” that must daily be surrendered to the will of Christ to whom I have given permission to live through me. If Christ lives through me, every relationship I have will be drastically altered for the better. All my relationships will be filtered through The Relationship. If it is Christ, rather than me, who is responding to the neglect, loss of rights, hurt, criticism, testing, trials, persecution, etc. that comes my way, the response will be far different. Because of that, the outcomes and consequences will be far different. Everyone I come in contact with will be happier. My life will be better; the world will be a better place and God will be honored. ……..firstname.lastname@example.org