Living Sacrifices
Romans 12:1 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.

We are called to be living sacrifices. But what does that mean???

The word sacrifice has many definitions. It can be used as a noun, a verb, etc. But the one that really struck me came from Miriam-Webster's Online dictionary.

Sacrifice: an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially the killing of a victim on an altar.

Wow. So I could probably pick that apart all day, but I won't. I'll stick with the things that stuck out at me that most.

The first thing that struck me in the definition of the word sacrifice are the words 'an act'. The word act is literally defined as "the doing of a thing: Deed." This means we have to do something. I think a lot of the time we think Christianity is about what we don't do. We don't do drugs. We don't have premarital sex. We don't commit adultery. We don't murder. We don't... We don't... We don't...

This is saying that it isn't all about what we don't do. This is about what we do, do. Yeah. Shut up :)

The next thing that really stood out to me is that a sacrifice is something precious. Wow. This just makes me smile! Paul said that we are to be living sacrifices because, and get this, we are precious to God. We are of great value to Him. We are cherished.

I know there are times that I do not feel precious. I feel anything but. I feel as though God doesn't even see me. I'm just another voice crying out in a sea of millions of people. But this says differently. This says I am precious. This makes my heart smile.

The third part of this definition is the GREATEST PART. Tacked on the end of the definition of the word sacrifice it says "especially the killing of a victim on an altar."

That's a little bit scary.

But we aren't called to kill anything on an altar, or to even die on an altar ourselves. We are called to be living sacrifices. We don't have to die.

Because Christ did it for us.

How cool is that?

As my 6 year old daughter so eloquently puts it "we do things after Jesus, because he did them first. He died for us so we don't have to do that'.

I couldn't have put it any better. He died for us so that we don't have to. That was his sacrifice. And I can't think of any better of a precious gift that could be offered. We talk about how he offered this sacrifice for us, but in my mind, ultimately, he did it because his Father asked him to. This was his sacrifice, his precious gift to God. Christ was the sacrifice, his body beaten and broken, given to his Father, for us, so that we may have a chance at eternal life.

Our bodies are called to be sacrifices too, but because of Christ, we are called to be the living sacrifice. Holy and acceptable to God.

The problem with a living sacrifice is that it tends to crawl off the altar.

We just have to keep throwing it back up there. Every day we mess up. We sin. We say things we shouldn't. We do things we shouldn't. We have a bad attitude. Whatever. We sin. Every day. And we get down on ourselves. Sometimes we let those sins take us over and we feel like we're never going to get it right and we just give up. But the fact is that if you take a lamb and you lay it up on an altar, it isn't going to lay there. It's going to crawl down. It is that way with us, too. If you sin, get back up on the altar. Start over. Do it again. You sin. Get back up on the altar. Do it again. That's what a living sacrifice is.

A friend of mine said today that she wasn't shining Jesus today at lunch. I don' t know what made me say it, but I said "we're only humans. The only person who shined Jesus 24/7 was Jesus himself'.

So get back on that altar.
4 Responses
  1. OneGirl Says:

    I like this post! Good reminder.

    P.S. The new pictures of your kids on the sidebar are cute!

  2. Jen Says:

    The term "living sacrifice" is an awesome one. As Ken Davis said once, you never saw too many sheep come back from it... :) (Get the dvd "God wants your body"... it's a whole [hilarious] sermon on this very passage.)

    For the sake of debate, I will argue that we DO need to die to become a living sacrifice... we need to put off our old way of life, and live the new (Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 2:11-12 for example) What say you? :)

  3. Courtney Says:

    Jen, I say that you are right. But in the post I am speaking of a physical death. The physical death of a lamb on an altar. The physical death of Christ on the cross.

    In putting off our old way of life, I believe we need to be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the remission of sins. This symbolizes our death burial and resurrection with Christ. But if we were truly physically dying, we wouldn't be able to live a new life (not here, anyway).

    We are not called to physically die. We are called to live. To live for him. To be his living sacrifice.

  4. Suzanne Says:

    Court-I think there is such a fine balance in life. There are those who follow Christianity to the point of legalism. (There, you only see rules, no real love for others...) Then there is the other side of laziness (Yeah, whatever, I'll pray when I need to, I'll go to church when it works for me, God knows my heart.)
    I too am human, and trying to find how I fit in God's picture without trying to make Him fit into MY life!

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