“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. And its collapse was great!” – Matthew 7:24-27 (HCSB)
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)
In our modern western culture, it is becoming increasingly easy to get distracted by all that surrounds us. Advertisements bombard us at every turn – radio, the internet, television, billboards, etc. We have countless opportunities to engage in activities or to purchase more “stuff” that do nothing to reflect God’s glory.
We are instructed to be “living sacrifices”. How much do any of us truly sacrifice? The vast majority of those in the West have quite enough “stuff”, probably many times over enough! How about surrendering our personal selfishness and greed and instead invest our time and money in things and people that will further the kingdom?
To be a living sacrifice we must learn to devote every second of our lives to God. Whatever we do, we must first make it pass through the “Jesus filter”. It works something like this: before, for example, saying something, test your words with a series of questions: “Will what I’m about to say encourage the person to whom I am speaking? Will it honor God? Will it point others to Christ? Will it demonstrate that we are different?” Before purchasing something, we might ask questions like these: “Will this purchase honor God? Is it something that furthers His kingdom? Does it demonstrate good stewardship of the money He has entrusted us to manage?”
There are many more questions we could ask ourselves, but I’m certain you get the point. I can hear the howls of protest already: “Can’t we buy ANYTHING for ourselves? Can’t we just engage in some mindless conversation or watch some television to just ‘zone out’ and relax?” We think we need these things to be happy, but we miss the point. When we are totally submitted to Christ, presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice, we will be filled with a joy and happiness unlike we have ever known! We were created for this very thing; there is no comfort like that of being what you were created to be.
Presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice is not easy, particularly when we first endeavor to do so. We must retrain our minds and bodies to think and act only for God. We must give up all of the so-called treasures of our culture, all those things we’re constantly told that we need, and instead focus solely on Christ. As we sacrifice what we once considered “all” for Him, we will discover that we now have everything through Christ.
Lord, forgive my wandering heart; forgive my lack of commitment in living sacrificially for You. Renew my spirit; renew my mind and my body that I may give them all back to You as a sacrifice of praise. Thank You for Your unending patience and love.
As they were traveling on the road someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go!”
Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.” Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
”Lord,” he said, “first let me go bury my father.”
But He told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.”
Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house.”
But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:57-62 (HCSB)
Following Jesus is all or nothing. We must at once let go of everything that is of this world and follow Him; no turning back.
We must be willing to give up our comfort. We must be willing to be homeless. We must be willing to be outcast from our families, perhaps being looked upon as rude and disrespectful. We must value Christ above all. We can never look back, but instead press forward at all times.
Lord, thank You for Your holiness and goodness toward me. Let me hold loosely to all the things you have allowed me to manage in this world. I give You my house, my family, my life, for only You are worthy. I need, and I desire, nothing else but You Jesus.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”. – I Peter 2:9-10 (HCSB)
When we accept Christ, we become part of His family, His “chosen people”. Our obligation, as well as our desire if we truly love Him, is then to praise and honor Him by living a life where Christ shines through everything we do. Significantly, this “shining” must not only occur when we are around others, but at all times throughout our day. There is no “time-off” from Christianity. If we truly love Him, every moment, every aspect, of our life will be lived in such a way as to honor Him.
We are set apart by God, not because of who we are, but rather because we belive in Him and have accepted His gift of salvation through His Son. Once we receive this gift, we are honor bound to then live in such a way so that others will be drawn to Christ as well. We must live for God not only first, but always.
Father, thank You for offering such an amazing gift to me; thank You for considering me one of Your people and for setting me apart. May I strive always to live in a manner worthy of You.
Listen, my dear brothers: Didn’t God choose the poor in this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He has promised to those who love Him? – James 2:5 (HCSB)
The Kingdom of God appears upside down when looking through the eyes of the world.
We must humble ourselves to the point of being “poor” in the eyes of the world. Putting aside the trappings (material things) of this world helps to clear space for God. Becoming earthly poor allows us to become spiritually rich. God chooses those who are willing to sacrifice earthly possessions so that they may possess Him only. When we cast all aside and wait on God, we will be filled.
Father, loosen my grip on material things and anything else that might take my focus from You. May I let it all go and then I ask that You fill whatever is missing with only You. Fill me Father.