In our reading today Paul calls us to be a “living sacrifice.” This should be the ultimate pattern for our life.
Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice for me. His sacrifice resulted in death but ended with His resurrection. My sacrifice is in appreciation for all He already did for me. But my sacrifice doesn’t end in death but begins in life. It begins with the new spiritual life I receive from Him. It also is lived out every day in the way I represent Him.
I’ve heard teachings on the subject of being a “living sacrifice” before and one of the things that have stuck with me through all the years is about “staying on the altar.” Because I am a “living” sacrifice I have many opportunities to choose to stay on the altar. I have to choose daily whether I will follow His example. Will I choose to honor Him in the middle of my conflict? Will I shine His light when no one is looking? Will I demonstrate His love even when I’m tired? That last one hits me right where I live!
So many times I find myself crawling off or even running from the altar of sacrificial love. Jesus didn’t climb off His altar, even though He had every right to. He could have called 10,000 angles to release and avenge Him. But He stayed out of love for us. How often do I stay out of love for Him?
I have found that the only reason I even climb up on the altar of sacrifice is because of love for Him. I love my family but I don’t know that I would be able to love them like I do without His love inside of me. Sometimes I have trouble laying my wants down for theirs. I even get… (wait for it) …angry and selfish with my family. Shocking! I know! No, not really shocking if you have been with me on this journey for very long.
So how do I get back on the altar? How do I begin again to live a life of sacrifice and love? By turning back to His word. I have noticed over this journey how He brings me up short when I’m behaving selfishly. How He speaks to me through His word to remind me of the attitude He desires from me. I have noticed that when I skip time with Him that my attitude begins to sour. That is exactly why Paul directs us to “renew our minds” on a continual basis. That is where His transforming power lies.
Paul tells us that by testing we can know what the will of God is. This is a day by day trying out the scriptures in our lives. Seeing how they apply to today. Choosing to follow them and watching the difference doing so makes in our lives. A lot like looking at “before” and “after” pictures. What was I like before? How do I treat others now? If I have been putting Jesus’ words into practice there will be a discernable difference. I personally like the me of today a LOT better that the one from before. And I know the change only happened by HIS grace and mercy.
Father God thank You for allowing me to see Your hand in my life. Thank You for changing my heart with Your word. Please forgive me for the multiple times I forget to put You and others first. Please forgive me for my short attitude with others. Right now You are working on my patience in a BIG way. Please help me remember to react in love at all times, especially with those who can’t understand my impatience. Please protect my husband from my failings in this area, especially now Lord. Don’t let me hurt him at all. Don’t let me simply hide my impatience but remove it from me completely Father. I’m asking for this miracle in my life from You. I know You can do this work in me and I lay myself down again on Your altar for just such a work.