Scripture Text: Romans 12:1 – 2
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. 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.
What does it mean to be a living sacrifice?
A living sacrifice means offering yourself totally to God. This is demonstrated in how we live our lives, how we communicate with each other, and how God’s love is demonstrated through us. It also means not following your own will but rather God’s divine will and purpose for your life.
Sacrificial offerings in the Bible:
During biblical times, sacrificial offerings were very common. Many people made offerings to God out of love for Him. Let’s examine five instances in the bible where individuals made such offerings to God and observe how God responded to them.
- Cain and Abel – (Genesis 4:3-5): Abel was a herdsman, and Cain was a farmer. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm, while Abel brought an offering from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God favored Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering did not receive His approval.
- Noah – (Genesis 8:20-22): After the flood, Noah built an altar to the Lord and offered sacrifices of clean animals and birds, burning them whole on the altar. The pleasing aroma of the sacrifice pleased the Lord, and He promised never to curse the ground because of human actions.
- Abraham – (Genesis 22:1-19): God instructed Abraham to take his beloved son Isaac to the land of Moriah and sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that He would show him. Early the next morning, Abraham followed the Lord’s instructions, taking Isaac up the mountain, and when he arrived at the designated place, he built an altar. As Abraham was about to take the knife to kill his son, the angel of God stopped him, commending him for his unwavering faith and fear of God. God provided a ram caught in the thicket as a substitute for the sacrifice. Abraham named the place “Jehovah Jireh,” meaning “The Lord will provide.” God promised to bless Abraham abundantly for his obedience and faithfulness.
- The widow’s offering – Mark 12:41-44: While Jesus sat across from the offering box, He observed how the crowd was making contributions. The wealthy were giving large sums, but a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, all she had. Jesus praised her, explaining that she had given more than anyone else because she had given sacrificially from her poverty, while others gave out of their abundance.
- Jesus – (John 3:16-17): Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He willingly gave up His life on the cross to redeem us, enduring great suffering, denial, betrayal, and abandonment by His friends. Despite the challenges, He remained faithful to the end, driven by His profound love for us, His children. Jesus’ sacrifice is the epitome of love, as He laid down His life for the sake of His friends, showing the depth of God’s love for humanity.
Embracing the living sacrifice mindset:
Now that we have explored examples of sacrificial offerings, let us consider how we can embrace the mindset of being a living sacrifice for God.
First and foremost, we must let go of self-centeredness. To be a living sacrifice for God, we have to be totally surrendered to Him, wholeheartedly following His instructions. It is no longer about prioritizing ourselves but about putting our love for God first in our lives.
Furthermore, cultivating a spirit of generosity is essential once we release our self-centered mindset. Generosity goes beyond material offerings; it includes giving of our time, attention, and emotional support to others. In giving selflessly, we experience the joy of making a positive impact on others’ lives, reflecting God’s love and compassion.
The ultimate reward of sacrificial living:
When we present ourselves as living sacrifices to God, He rewards us for our faithfulness and dedication to Him. God delights in our best offerings, just as He blessed Abraham greatly for remaining committed and faithful, even when faced with the daunting task of sacrificing his beloved son.
Moreover, sacrificial living brings inner rewards as well. It brings a sense of fulfillment, contentment, gratitude, joy, and love that can only be experienced through walking in obedience to God’s will. As we align our lives with His purpose, we grow in spiritual maturity and develop a deeper relationship with Him.
In conclusion, the principle of living our lives as living sacrifices to God is a transformative way to enhance our spiritual walk before Him. It involves a shift from self-serving attitudes to a life of servitude to God and others. God is pleased when we offer Him our best because it reflects our love and devotion to Him.
Throughout our journey, there will be tests and trials that reveal the state of our hearts. God desires pure and holy worship, rooted in authentic love for Him. Sacrificial living requires steadfast faith, perseverance, and a genuine desire to please God.
As we embrace the mindset of being a living sacrifice before God, we will make a significant impact on the world around us, drawing others to the transformative love of God.
May God bless us as we continuously seek to align our lives with God’s will, living sacrificially for His glory and the betterment of others. Let us walk in love and gratitude, thanking Jesus for His ultimate sacrifice and the salvation He provides for all who believe in Him.
I pray that you will help us live our lives as a living sacrifice unto you.
Please forgive us for not being the living sacrifices you have called us to be.
As we move forward, please guide us in offering you our best worship from pure and clean hearts.
May we remain faithful and committed to following your instructions as we fulfill your will and purpose for our lives.
Thank you for hearing and answering these prayers in
Jesus’ name. Amen.