"I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship" (Rom. 12:1).
As Christians, we accept that our lives are no longer our own, for we have been purchased at a high price. This Scripture promises that God will accept the sacrifice of our lives as holy and pleasing no matter how sin-scarred and defiled by the world we may have been.
This verse also tells us something about living in purity: It is an essential part of denying yourself, daily laying down your life to His direction, and taking up your cross. Our response to God's mercy is to honor the merciful God. Thus we acknowledge to those around us that we are not our own but have been purchased by another.
"For You do not desire sacrifice, or I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise" (Ps. 51:16-17).
God has always longed for those who can see beyond the veil of religion and the works of the flesh—those who will draw near by faith and worship Him in Spirit and in truth. He longs for those who want more than just to be good. He desires those who want to be His.
By identifying with the death of Christ, we are able to live by virtue of His resurrection. Jesus broke the power of sin and death. Even now, He lives for the Father, not for Himself. And that is the kind of life He will empower us to live: one targeted toward Him. We are invited to "lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1-2).
Would you say the life you live reflects the Lord you serve? In what ways have you surrendered your life to God, and in what areas have you not? As you spend time in prayer this week, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal areas of your life that are still your own. Ask Him to make you a living sacrifice. As you feed on God's Word and embrace His faithfulness, allow His grace to be your source of empowerment!
Adapted from Kissed the Girls and Made Them Cry: Why Women Lose When They Give In (Thomas Nelson, 2002) by Lisa Bevere.
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