Living Sacrificially When I'd Rather Live for Self
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1, NIV)
Have you ever been caught off guard by the harsh truth spoken from a “tagged” picture? Shortly after having my third child, I unsuspectingly came across a photo of myself and cringed.
Looking to escape my feelings of inadequacy, I was aimlessly scrolling through social media. You know the drill: I received a notification, thrust my phone toward my face, frantically moved my thumbs to zoom in and scrutinized every detail, wondering, Is that what I really look like?! And friends, Facebook Timehop didn’t waste any time confronting me with a pre-pregnancy picture of myself.
In an online world of filters and carefully curated highlight reels, it doesn't take long before I begin comparing my body, life experiences and accomplishments with others’. That day of the “tagged” photo, the temptation to sacrifice my body and make it a slave to the world grew with every passing thought.
Like me, are you ever tempted to sacrifice your money, time and efforts to please the world?
Yet Romans 12:1 tells us, "in view of God's mercy, to offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is [our] true and proper worship." Sacrificing my life to please God is an act of worship, not to obtain mercy but because of God’s mercy on undeserving sinners like me.
Our world is merciless, graceless and downright mean unless we meet its demands. Yet when Jesus fulfilled God’s demands on our behalf, we were given unlimited access to His mercy and grace.
Praise God that Jesus sacrificially laid down His life for the sake of my soul. What a privilege to sacrificially yield my body to the Lord instead of the whims of the world. Nevertheless, living for Christ will require at least three things from me:
- I must admit my heart is “desperately sick” and in need of a Savior (Jeremiah 17:9, ESV). I am sick because I love the world too much and instinctively exchange worship of God for the worship of self, preferring my glory over God’s glory.
- I must become spiritually minded. Unless I become inwardly transformed by renewing my mind in Christ, I will inevitably live for lesser things. (Romans 12:2) Thinking godly thoughts transforms how I live.
- By God’s grace, I must deny and die to myself daily. (Luke 9:23)
Friends, we will never gain lasting acceptance and mercy from the world. Someone will always be younger, smarter, faster or stronger, and the goal posts are constantly changing. Therefore, may Christ's love compel us, His Word guide us, and His grace enable us to turn away from living for the world — so, instead, we live to please the Lord. He is worthy.
Lord, help me resist the temptation to live only for myself and worldly praise. Create in me a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit in me so I will wholeheartedly sacrifice my life for the sake of the gospel. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (NIV)
In what areas of your life is God calling you to deny and die to yourself?
What is one thing you can do to live sacrificially for Christ in your home and your community today?
We’d love to hear from you! Share your responses in the comments.
© 2022 by Beth Knight. All rights reserved.