Lesson 8 -- second quarter 2002
April 21, 2002
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
How can I be a living sacrifice?
The expression resonates readily enough in our minds. Somehow, though, being familiar with it doesn't necessarily mean we understand how to live its teaching. We know from the verse that our living sacrifice must be holy and thus acceptable to God. But how does one go about being a living sacrifice?
Notice, first of all, that this "living sacrifice . . . is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). When you give up yourself and put your life into service to God, you become that living sacrifice. This kind of living does not tolerate from itself a weak half-heartedness. Not at all! Energized by a love for and a commitment to God, the living sacrifice gives all, without reserve.
The next dimension we need to remember is this: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40). Therefore, when I give up myself and put my life into service to my fellowman, I become that living, holy, acceptable sacrifice to God. And by the same token, when I refuse to serve people, I refuse to be that living sacrifice that God finds so acceptable.
Do you still wonder how to be a living sacrifice? Look around! Ask God to show you the service opportunities in your home, your community, and your congregation. He will gladly show you all kinds of practical ways to be holy and pleasing for Him by serving others whole-heartedly.
Fruits of renovation
Many people determine to transform themselves, their values, and their manner of living. They decide they should be more noble, more kind, more other-people oriented, more good. And in many ways, they succeed . . . and they do so without God. Notice that Romans 12:2 does not call us to that kind of transformation: "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." That requires an act of God; no one else can produce this kind of renovation. So the call from this verse rings down from heaven itself: "Surrender to the work of God in your life. Make that your choice!"
When we choose to allow God to renew our minds and produce His ongoing transformations in us, then we begin to produce Godly fruit.
Genuine love (Romans 12:9). Imagine having truly loving responses to all manner of people. That would be wonderful! And it's possible! Thanks to God's renovation of our minds, we can choose the good responses. We can also abhor and choose to reject the evil responses. We can love others sincerely and without pretense or hypocrisy.
Zeal for service (Romans 12:10,11). We already noted that God wants our bodies for wholehearted service. Here we discover that this kind of sacrifice results from our renewed minds. With this kind of mind in us, we can give preference to others as to the Lord. We perform our service, not out of constraint or obligation, but out of a loving fervency of spirit.
Positive responses to adversity (Romans 12:12). So many times trials, afflictions, and set-backs bring out the worst in us. God wants to renew our minds so that adversity brings out our joy, patience, and prayer.
Read the rest of today's printed text like this, noting the amazing things God can accomplish with our renewed minds. And take heart! Don't become discouraged! He will accomplish all this in you, if you surrender daily to Him.
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