“So when he came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me… Then I said, “Here I am: I have come – it is written of me in the scroll of the book – to do your will, O God” (Heb. 10:5-7, NET).
Christmas has come and gone; however, we carry the Reason for the season with us into a brand new year. During our Advent devotions, we talked about the body that the Father prepared for Jesus, lying in a feeding trough. A body prepared from birth as a sacrifice.
And now God calls us to live the same way: “Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice…” (Rom. 12:1a, NET).
God has prepared a body for you too. It’s the one you’re living in. Through the book of Romans, He calls us to present our bodies to Him as a sacrifice, a living sacrifice, “alive, holy, and pleasing to God” (v. 1b). It pleases God when we surrender our bodies to Him. But what does this mean, in practical terms?
He fashioned our bodies to be the vehicle through which to live our lives on the earth. Therefore, offering Him our bodies means to offer Him the entirety of our earthly lives. It means that we offer to Him everything that our hands will ever do, everything our eyes will ever look at, and everywhere our feet will ever walk. We hand over to Him all twenty-four hours of each of our days for His management and direction. We make ourselves completely His.
In the wretched moment when Saul lost his place as king, the prophet Samuel exhorted him with these words: “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams” (1 Sam. 15:22, NLT).
Saul had supposedly set some animals aside to sacrifice to God. However, God did not have his heart. When Jesus presented His own body to the Father for sacrifice, the exact opposite was true. He was yielded in perfect submission to God. Against the agonized voice of His soul, He gasped, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”
Tragically, there are individuals who are showing up to church week after week, but have never had their hearts overtaken by Jesus’ love and lordship. The Bible describes them in this way: “These people worship me with their mouths and honor me with their lips. But their hearts are far from me…” (Isa. 29:13, GWT).
Let it not be said of us! As 2017 draws to a close, I invite you to take a moment before the Lord and ask Holy Spirit to examine your heart. He loves you so deeply, so achingly, so jealously! Is there an area of your life that you need to yield to Him to start 2018 out in His glorious freedom? Beyond the sacrifice of your Sunday mornings and whatever else you give Him, does He have your heart? Have you made yourself completely and entirely and utterly His?
(Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!)