[this week our reflections will explore Romans 12]
The Old Testament is packed full of sacrifices. There were different offerings for everything, and most involved some kind of animal sacrifice. The Animal would be placed on the altar & slaughtered, and the sacrifice of the animal would grant forgiveness. The New Testament changed all that – once, and for good.
‘And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.’ – Romans 12:1 NLT
Because of all God has done (through His Son Jesus), offer your body as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God. Not a ritual sacrifice as in the Old Testament where the altar was a place of bloodshed and death. But in the New Testament, we remember that Jesus Christ has already paid the price & been our sacrifice, buying our forgiveness. So for us, strangely, when Paul here speaks about sacrifice, he is talking about life. We are alive because of Jesus’ sacrifice, and we will not be put to death (eternally) because we have been made clean. That’s why he calls it a ‘living sacrifice’. We don’t give up our life, but we give it over to Jesus. Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. And he placed him on the altar, ready to sacrifice him – to give him over, trusting God. We are to do the same each day – to give our lives over to Jesus, trusting that He will guide us.
‘You will only ever know if Jesus is truly Lord of your life, if you want to go one way – Jesus wants you to go another way – and you choose His way.’ – Anonymous
It means laying down our own desires & plans. Or at least holding them loosely enough that we’d let them go if we felt God telling us to.
– what role does Jesus play in your life?
– is he a ‘special advisor’ who you can choose to listen to (or ignore)?
– or is He in charge?
– is He your Lord & Saviour, or is He simply there to bail you out when you need Him?
– who is the boss? who is calling the shots?
Father God, help me to hand over my life to you afresh today.
Accept it as my offering, my sacrifice to You.
I pray you would find it acceptable & pleasing.
Help me to hold my plans loosely and listen for your voice speaking.
Give me the confidence & conviction to change my plans according to Your will!