If you are like me, you feel a tension when you read verses like Romans 12:1. Here are a few similar phrases within scripture: “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice”, “pick up our cross and follow me”, “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His footsteps”, “I have been crucified with Christ”. When I read scripture with such a high calling I feel the tension between the high calling and the calling I have accepted by the way I live, my values and my motivations. Do you?
12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Now that Paul has created the framework to unite the Church in Rome he asks them to live to the standard of a unified alternative culture of Jesus followers. A sacrifice as defined in the Oxford Dictionary is “An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.”
What am I to give up? And what is worth giving it up?
For myself, I have given up a few things that were not God honoring, but most things like running, playing music or reading have not changed. They are morally neutral, and even God honoring if done with the right mindset. What I definitely had to give up were my selfish values and motivations. They are hanging on a cross.
They are a pleasure to give away. Now that I have known God, what can compare? It is my greatest treasure to follow a God that knows all and is good, all the time. This may not erase all the tension, because as long as we are exiles in this world we will have tension. But, we are going home.
Seek God, love Him; seek others, love them.
“Sacrifice”, English Oxford English Dictionary, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/sacrifice, Accessed September 18, 2018