Today's Devotional Thought
May 23, 2011 by Rachel Piferi
Do you live your life as a living sacrifice? And, what exactly does that mean?
Over the last 6 weeks, Wendy & I have led a small group of women at our church in a discussion of Lysa TerKeurst’s book What Happens When Women Say Yes to God. I have loved the discussions that have emerged in our group as we discussed this book. The theme of this book is radical obedience and how we should be committed to doing whatever God tells us to do. The book starts with discerning God’s voice and each chapter encourages the readers to really step out in faith and do whatever God tells you to do.
As we have led this study, both Wendy and I have been intrigued by the concept of radical obedience and have discussed it at length. And, as she and I talked about this concept recently, I thought of Romans 12 and Paul’s assertion that we should live our lives as a living sacrifice.
You see, radical obedience to God is complete sacrifice of yourself for God. It is sacrificing your time, your plans, your comforts, your desires, and your life to follow God’s plans to further his kingdom.
Do you know anyone who does that?
I do. In fact, when I think of these special people who sacrifice their lives for God’s purposes, I am awed by their sacrifice. Because friends, when you truly live life as a living sacrifice, it is a big alteration of your life. In fact, as I have thought about it, I have come to the conclusion that most of us are doing the occasional thing for God, but we aren’t truly sacrificing ourselves for him. We aren’t really putting aside our desires or our plans or our goals or our ideas of how we want our lives to look. We are trying to fit God into our lives instead of fitting our life into God’s plans. We aren’t truly saying to God, “Take over my life and use it however you see fit and use me and my life to further your kingdom. It doesn’t matter what I lose, I give it all to you.”
I have to say, when I think of the few people who have truly surrendered their lives to God’s plans, I see lives that aren’t always perfect. In fact, more often than not, I see worldly strife and struggles in their lives as they follow God’s plans. I see conflict with people who don’t seem to understand their life. I see moments of frustration because life is interrupted and goes in a different direction than they anticipated or wanted. I see moments of anxiety as God’s plans aren’t always clear and yet he wants us to start walking towards them. But even amidst all the worldly strife, I see so many moments of joy and contentment from serving God with their lives.
It is truly amazing to see someone who has surrendered their desires, their plans, their relationships, and ultimately their lives to serving the Lord. And it is just as Paul wrote when he talked about being a living sacrifice to the Lord. These godly people are sacrificing their lives to serve God and share his sacrifice with others.
John Piper wrote about it this way: “God wants visible, lived-out, bodily evidence that our lives are built on his mercy. Just as worshippers in the Old Testament denied themselves some earthly treasure (a sheep, a goat, a bull), and carried their sacrifices to the altar of blood and fire, so we deny ourselves some earthly treasure or ease or comfort, and carry ourselves—our bodies—for Christ's sake to the places and the relationships and the crises in this world where mercy is needed.”
Loving and serving God means radical selflessness. It means denial of self. It means loving and serving others first. It means giving of ourselves, of our comfort, and of our plans to bring Christ’s message of love, hope, and mercy to others.
When you think of your Christian walk, are you walking as a living sacrifice? Have you denied your own desires, plans, or comforts to serve God and his people?
Pray that God would show you today the areas of your life that you can sacrifice to God and become a more effective servant and witness of his.