Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Living Sacrifice

"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."-Romans 12:1 (NASB)
 As I was praying yesterday, I said "Lord I offer myself to you as a living sacrifice today" (it's a fairly regular ingredient of my prayer times).  He responded with "being a living sacrifice is willing to be consistently uncomfortable". While we most certainly are aware of praying to "be living sacrifices" or to "take up our cross daily", the concept of what we have been praying is oftentimes foreign to us.  I noticed that while my heart and spirit meant this wholeheartedly, I had been neglecting the conscious willingness to follow up the prayer with the actions.  When we say things like "Lord I offer myself as a living sacrifice" we are declaring that we intend to submit our will to His. 

To be a living sacrifice, always means giving up our selfish desires in exchange for adopting the Lord's desires.  One example of this is having a willingness to pray for others, regardless of agenda.  Personally, this was a sacrifice when I started doing it, but is now a frequent practice and subsequently no longer a sacrifice.  My agenda when I used to go shopping at Kroger or Walmart never included other people.  I was going with intentions of groceries, not God.  However, as the Lord began challenging me to simply "Do What Jesus Did" I was confronted with the concept that my intentions had excluded His (yes even regarding shopping malls).  So what did "being a living sacrifice" entail in that scenario?  It meant I was to being very uncomfortable approaching strangers and asking them if I could pray for them (initially).  My will was to get some ground beef, His will was to heal the sick.  After all, Christ and all of His followers had no problem going into strange towns and preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, raising the dead, and cleansing lepers so how obscure is it to awaken to the fact that His desire for that hasn't changed? The more we are willing to lay down our lives for His sake, the more we take up His life... and His motives.

Walking out this life as a living sacrifice is a yielding of our will to His, but even more than that.  The degree with which we yield to Christ's will for our lives is the degree to which our hearts are conformed to His.  I rarely struggle with apprehension about approaching people to pray for them anymore.  It has been engraved in my heart, that now I truly love to do it!  So instead of being afraid of this "scary prayer", perhaps we should pray it but also respond to the implications of sacrificing ourselves for His sake.

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