"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

11/17/08

Monday Manna - Our Living Sacrifice



Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 NIV
Welcome to Monday Manna here at my blog, The Open Book. Today, you are/were asked to give your thoughts on Romans 12:1, posted above. Go ahead and "link up" in the Mr. Linky gadget at the bottom of my blog with your contributions. Regardless, be sure to check out the other folks' thoughts on this bit of God's word. You will be fed. I guarantee it!

Below is my contribution.

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I'm glad I wasn't a sheep or goat during Old Testament times--especially one that was "without blemish." On minute I might be wandering about a field, chewing on some grass and minding my own business, and the next I could be dragged off to Jerusalem to be slaughtered on an altar.

Before the coming of Christ, God's people had to perform animal sacrifices as atonement for their sins. The blood of the animals was the necessary requirement to fulfill God's need for holiness among His chosen people.

Personally, I'm glad the Lord sent His Son to be the ultimate and perfect sacrifice for all of our sins. We no longer offer sacrifices to God to appease Him.

Or do we?

True: we are no longer required to kill an animal to receive forgiveness when we sin. The blood of Christ is completely sufficient. Yet, God still desires a sacrifice of a different sort. This sacrifice is explained in the first verse of the twelfth chapter of Romans. You are to "...offer your bodies as living sacrifices..."

There are several ways that this sacrifice is different from those of Old Testament times, but two ways in particular struck me.
Firstly, it is a personal body sacrifice
During OT times, people were required to give of their flock--of their livelihood. This was, for many, a great sacrifice, but it was only a sacrifice of a possession. This new sacrifice is a voluntary offer of ourselves. We are not merely giving up something we own: we must give up our minds, bodies, emotions, and spirits. Everything about us is given to God, is sacrificed as an "act of worship" on our part.
Secondly, it is a living sacrifice
Our sacrifice, unlike the bull, lamb, goat, or whatever animal was used at the temple, is also a living sacrifice. The animals did not become the sacrifice until they were killed. We, however, do not need to shed blood to be "holy and pleasing to God." Christ already shed His perfect blood for us. So, we instead must offer our lives to God in all that we do.

Of course, there is one problem with a living sacrifice. Because we are still alive, we can climb right back down off that altar. That is why we must make a conscious effort to be sure we are repeatedly, daily (or hourly) putting ourselves back into the Lord's service, and being that sweet-smelling savor he loves. We must offer ourselves to Him: repeatedly, unconditionally, and
willingly. It is our "spiritual act of worship" of the One who died for us.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. I am so glad we no longer need to sacrifice animals to repent before You. Help me, Lord, to remember how much you desire my personal, living sacrifice of ourselves to You. Help me to offer to You my heart, my body, my mind, and my soul for whatever You would have me do, to be that holy and pleasing aroma to You and the world around me. In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Don't forget to read the other folks' thoughts on this verse below, and feel free to share your own! Thanks for participating.

7 comments:

  1. Bless you! You have had plenty of times when you've had to look up from that place of sacrifice, lying helpless on your back and wondering what this sacrifice would mean and whether you would survive it. Your words mean that much more because of it.

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  2. Wow, this really puts it into a different perspective--one that I haven't thought about it. Love it! Gives me much to think about. Thank you!

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  3. Wow, Amen. I love the way you describe a living sacrifice being able to climb back down the altar. Very thought-provoking.

    I'm going to try to post a little something on this later today...it's too great of a verse to pass up.

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  4. Joanne:
    God has simply, yet profoundly, been asking me to make a greater sacrifice as far as my time is concerned. He is calling me to the "streets" so to speak to put my faith into action...not just words. I've become too complacent in my faith and a great requirement is needed. This post is particularly meaningful to me today in light of what God's speaking over my heart and life.

    Wonderful manna, friend.

    peace~elaine

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  5. Do you have any idea how long I would hold you captive at a kitchen table and demand you tell me everything there is to know about the Jewish faith?

    Marc would have to call the police to have me taken away. lol. No joke.

    This was awesome. I loved the perspective. And, of course, love you.

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  6. What a good word! Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading your Monday Manna.

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  7. What a great perspective. Beautiful job.


    Vickie

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