Romans was a hard book to study through this time around. It seems that passages I’ve read – and even memorized – many times before stirred new thoughts and convictions within me this time through. Thoughts and convictions that didn’t leave me feeling very comfortable.
Romans 12:1-2 was no exception. It’s a very familiar passage. I’ve read it many times. I’ve memorized it. I’ve completed Bible studies on it. But, this time around I felt a question burn my heart in a way it never had before.
In what ways am I refusing to be a living sacrifice?
I like the end of verse two. I like knowing what God’s will is, and I’d like it wrapped up in a pretty little package for me to unwrap – a beautiful picture of all of the promises God has in store for me.
But, that image of the end of verse two does not at all fit with all that leads up to it, both before and after the “therefore” of verse one.
Most of us really desire to know what God’s will is. But, in all honesty we don’t really want to give up conformation to this world. We also want to keep His will in line with our personal desires rather than surrendering our desires to His will.
And so, as I have contemplated the knowing of His will and the question that burned my heart, I have begun to make a list of questions I need to ask of myself about being a living sacrifice.
Essentially a sacrifice dies. Being a living sacrifice means dying to self.
Will I die to myself in what I desire daily, even down to what I desire to eat and drink?
Will I die to myself in the way I present myself each day such that attention is not drawn to myself but to Christ in me?
Will I die to myself in relation to my ever-important schedule?
Will I die to myself in relation to my desire to go and do certain things?
This is far from an exhaustive list, but I realized that these questions on their own would take a great deal of work! God has laid many more things on my heart since I recorded these first few. Essentially, each day I am faced with the question – will I surrender myself in full sacrifice to the will of God, or will I persist in selfish insistence of my own will?
On a daily basis I find myself refusing to sacrifice. But, I pray that as I grow that I will continually increase in my willingness to consciously surrender myself a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, my spiritual act of worship.