How to be a living sacrifice

June 16th, 2009

Romans 12:1 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him”.

Paul urges us to be a living sacrifices. To give our lives for God’s service. But how do we go about being a living sacrifice? If we read through the rest of chapter Romans 12 Paul gives us a few clues.

1. Renew our mind (v2) – this is a vital first step if we are wanting to live a life in God’s service. We need to line our hearts and minds up with God by reading the Bible and focusing on Godly pursuits (Philippians 4:8). The result is “you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”.

2. Have a right opinion of ourselves (v3-5) – A part of being a living sacrifice means having a right view of yourself. It should not be too high or too low. We need to realise that we are all part of Christ’s body with a role to play. None are more or less important than others and we are all God’s gift to each other.

3. Use our gifts well (v6-8) – Paul tells us to use whatever gift God has given us to the best of our abilities. If it is to prophesy, teach, serve, give, show kindness or encourage we should do the best job we can. Paul also reminds us in verse 8 that we should serve others gladly.

4. Really love each other (v9-11) – I love the way the NLT puts it “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them”. That is straight to the point! We love others in practical ways when we “hate what is wrong, stand on the side of good and love with genuine affection”. We love by serving them and by standing with people in times of trouble.

5. Be hospitable (v12-13) – Paul tells us to help those who are in need and to get into the habit of inviting people into our homes for meals or lodgings. Opening our homes is a simple way of being a living sacrifice and serving God with what we have.

6. Live in harmony (v14-20) – In the last section Paul urges us to live at peace with everyone. The NIV says as much as it depends on you. We should try to love and serve others even if they persecute us as Christians. God makes it very clear it is not our place to curse or take revenge. That is a big sacrifice at times and contrary to a worldly way of thinking.

7. Conquer evil with good (v21) – Paul finally finishes this section with a plea to not let evil overcome us, but we need to press on and overcome evil with good deeds. As I once heard it said, “Evil prospers when good people do nothing”. We need to not grow weary in doing good because the harvest is coming (Galatians 6:9-10).

As we can see from these things being a living sacrifice is about renewing our mind and then going on to do God’s will for our lives. He wants us to live in peace with those around, to love and serve others and to conquer the evil things that take place in this world by doing good.