A Living Sacrifice
When we don’t give our best to God, whether it be our work, money, time…whatever, it is a lame sacrifice. The first verse in Romans 12 says our “spiritual act of worship” is to present our bodies as “living sacrifices”. Isn’t “living sacrifice” one of those oxymorons? It just doesn’t make a lot of sense. In the old testament, to be made right with God meant something had to DIE! How can something be living…and dead at the same time?
Remember how Adam and Eve tried to “cover” their sin? They used fig leaves. When God came, they hid from Him because they were ashamed. The sacrifice that was required to cover their shame did not come from a fig leaf, it came from a lamb. Imagine when the first two people on the planet watched God Himself slay a lamb, rip it’s skin off, and use the skin to cover them. THAT had to be brutal to watch. They KNEW then that they messed up BIG time!
Remember when Cain killed Abel? What was the deal there? Abel brought the blood sacrifice of a lamb. Cain gave the lame sacrifice of some grain. Just like the fig leaves, the grain wasn’t acceptable, at least that particular sacrifice didn‘t MEAN anything to Cain, so certainly didn‘t mean anything to God. To be acceptable and pleasing to Him…it required a much greater sacrifice!
We, however, do not have to kill animals anymore (Thank GOD!) to worship Him. However, presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice does mean that we do have to kill some things in our lives. Before I go there, I want you to think about some things first.
Do you remember when you gave your life to God? Do you remember what it felt like when you opened your eyes as a new creation in Him? If you don’t, you need to make today the day of your salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2) God sacrificed his own Son, the ultimate Lamb, so that we may be forgiven by simply asking Him (John 3:16) He gave us HIS best, therefore, we should give Him OUR best!
Now, a tough question. What have you given up for God since you gave your life to Him? Is it a lamb-like sacrifice? Or, is it just a plant-like sacrifice? If you think that just attending church on Sundays (or Saturdays for some) and Wednesdays is scoring you major points…sorry, that’s plant-like. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE church, but I’ve actually heard people tell me they are going to Heaven because they are “good” people who go to church…lame! If the answer to “Why are you going to Heaven?” is ANYTHING other that “JESUS”…it is a lame sacrifice!
Let me give you an example of what I‘m talking about: When I was 16 I thought I was going to be the next Angus Young, Kirk Hammett, or Ace Frehley (If you don’t know these guys…that’s probably GOOD thing!) I wanted to be a famous guitar player. At that same age, I got saved. For 5 years, I knew that God wanted me to give up playing with the guys I was playing with. He also wanted me to give up the kind of music that I was playing and the kind of junk I was doing. I repeatedly told Him “NO“…well, I wasn’t that bold, but I never did what I knew He wanted me to do. Like Eutychus in Acts chapter 20, I kept one foot in the world and one foot in church. Finally, when I was 20, I quit the band…only to watch them become more popular and more successful as the years went by (I must have been holding them back!) I REMINDED God just how great my sacrifice was ALL the time!
But, you know what happened? I slowly grew closer and closer to Him and I didn’t even care about their success anymore. Then, 11 years after that, He opened the door for me to play at Golden Corner Church. Now, instead of playing in front of 25-50 people and saying “look how great I am”, I occasionally get to play in front of around 400 people and say “look how great He is!” God knew all along what I needed to do, but He left it up to me to actually do it! When I did…He BLESSED ME! He accepted my sacrifice! Why? Because I gave Him something that was valuable to ME! If it’s valuable to ME, it’s valuable to HIM!
I also went through quite a little spell of always having to date somebody, or having a girlfriend. I knew that God wanted me to be by myself for one year to learn to just be happy with ME. I told Him “no” for quite a while. I finally gave in and told Him “I’ll do it.” All of a sudden, hot chicks came out of the woodwork that would have never given me the time of day to talk to me before that decision was made. Well, I stuck to my guns and did not date. EXACTLY one year later, I laid eyes on the most beautiful woman I have ever met, she is now my wife, and has been my wife for over ten years now. I went from needing to be in a relationship to honor and please ME, to being in a relationship that honors and pleases Him! I didn’t see it at the time, but I see it now…and man, am I glad that GOD HONORS SACRIFICES!
So, what is it that you’ve sacrificed for the Lord? Maybe there is something that you know you need to give up for Him because He‘s been telling you for a long time. It may be that there is something that He wants you to do! If you aren’t spending any time with Him, maybe it’s time to start.
Here’s what I know: Whatever it is…It will be hard…BUT…It will be WORTH IT!
There is a great illustration of this here: