A Living Sacrifice
A painful prospect for one to consider, don’t you think? A living sacrifice. It is a biblical principal however, and to be observed by those professing to be a Christian.
Paul Knew It
Paul states in Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
It’s almost a contradiction in terms, “living” and “sacrifice.” But it is possible. In another place Paul states that he, “is crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Paul lived the lifestyle of which he spoke. When admonishing the Corinthians in a second letter, he implores them…
3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
It is quite possible then to live a sacrificial life, but not literally die. Dying in spiritual sense, means you are no longer actively pursuing the ungodly appetites and desires of the prideful flesh. Your focal point is about bringing the flesh under submission to the will of the Spirit. Have you ever felt that inner turmoil before? As a Christian, I’m certain you have. The Galatians did as well…
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)
Note that the “S” in Spirit is capitalized. This infers a reference to the “Spirit of God.” It is that same Spirit that you are filled with, combating your will. Yet, the flesh will not willingly submit. It is at the intersection of our flesh and our spirit (small “s”) that the will of either is broken down. Depending on what has been gaining the greater degree of emphasis in your life, that particular facet of your being will arise victorious.
David Knew It
Long before Paul, David had it nailed – Psalms 51:6 – Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Further in that same Psalm 51:16 – For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Where do we get the spiritual edification? Our inward parts. How does that take place? Through the broken and contrite heart.
Now Let’s Do It
In sum, the living sacrifice that God is looking for and pleased with: a broken and contrite heart. This is exemplified by our prideful fleshly nature dying, and our spiritual nature gaining prominence. When we are motivated by the Spirit we will not consider living for God drudgery. We will not consider it an imposition to attend church a couple of nights a week. We will not consider financially supporting the ministries of the church just another bill. We will do it cheerfully, lovingly, and with a pure heart.
It is instinctual to want to do what it takes to survive. We cater too often to the needs of flesh because after all, it is the most visible part of who we are, and will often exhibit the loudest protest when we miss the mark. But, our fleshly tabernacles are temporary, and represent only one facet of who we are. There is an internal spirit we all possess, that is screaming for attention. Why not actively pursue God’s will for your life. Sure the flesh will whine, but your spirit will be singing the Hallelujah Chorus!
How Do I Feel?
After that my previous remarks, I’m sure you know where I’m going. I feel the battle is leaning heavily in favor of the Spirit. Under the current conditions, my flesh doesn’t stand a change. I’m feeling an intimacy with my Savior, and I’m enjoying every moment. I’m not where I want to be yet, but the feeling of God planting wisdom in my inward parts is fascinating to me. My mind only has a limited memory capacity, but once something gets into your spirit, not even the flesh is a challenge.
The hunger pangs have subsided and only occasionally rumble. My cravings for certain foods, has all but disappeared. My muscles are weak and can only take a few moments of continuous activity before I have to rest. There are some minor aches in my back, arms, and legs. But, I was told my color looks better, and that I actually appear healthier – physically I don’t feel it, spiritually I’m getting there.