“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” – Romans 12:1 NKJV.
Yesterday, we learnt that full commitment and cooperation in His plans, purposes, methods and ways are the things God considers a reasonable service. Today we will learn that being a living sacrifice goes beyond just living a simple and good life.
In our anchor text, we see some criteria in presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice.
The first is that we should be holy. While holiness is often taken to mean moral excellence, in the real sense, it depicts a state of dedication and consecration to God.
For anything or anyone to be holy, he/she/it must be given wholly to God.
In all that you do, ask yourself if it glorifies God, edifies you or the church. This quickly dismisses a lot of arguments and question about drinking alcohol or clubbing, for example. These things are simply not edifying.
No one will run a marathon or jump into a pool with a pair of jeans on. Running or swimming in jeans is not a crime and will not get you thrown in jail but we can all agree that it is an unnecessary weight and unfit for these activities.
This gives us a picture of what Paul means when he says that all things are lawful but not all things edify (1 Corinthians 10:23)
Living a life of holiness involves replacing our dreams, ambitions and plans with the plans and purpose of God.
These ambitions might not be bad on the surface. Even a simple desire to be ordinary – to live a life that society approves of with a ‘good job, good wife and good life’ – will ring hollow because it disregards God’s plans and purposes.
In Luke 14, we see people giving various reasons why they could not follow God completely. In verse 26, Jesus asks those that follow Him to hate father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and even their own life.
“Hate” in this sense does not mean to despise or even dislike. The category of people in the verse above are meant to be the dearest to us and take priority in our lives.
In this sense “to hate” means to “remove priority or preference and give to another”. We see “hate” used in the same way in Romans 9:13. Think of the way that you love your family and friends and the preference that you give them, God requires even more from us. To live a life of consecration, we must give God priority.
Friends, you cannot get by on just doing the basics. God requires your all. You belong to Him.