A Living Sacrifice
by David Thompson
I am always amazed how the assigned passages dovetail with each other. Today's passage begins with, "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." Today again the verse states something that I am not always good at because of being human and having a sinful nature. In the Old Testament, the sacrifice was taken to the priest who would kill it, cut it into pieces and carefully lay the pieces on the alter to be burned. Done correctly the practice was pleasing to God. More importantly, the New Testament tells us to be a living sacrifice. To be pure in our hearts.
The passage then moves into another area that I sometimes struggle with, "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." This reminds me of a time long ago when I coached football. The coaches spent a lot of time together and the locker room humor was certainly not pleasing to God. Dirty jokes were a common occurrence. I recall knowing the topics were wrong and not pleasing to God, but my desire to belong kept me in that locker room way too long. Talk about conforming to the patterns of this world... I am a bit ashamed to admit it. There was a saying a while back that "if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" Too often, there were times in my past and I am afraid to say also in the present when I would be judged "Not Guilty."
The passage finishes by discussing gifts of the spirit. Whatever your gift(s) is/are it states to do them in a correct and proper way. I have always felt teaching and administration were my Holy Spirit given gifts (a more complete list of gifts is found in I Corinthians 12).
Dear Lord, thank you for bearing with me as I stumble way too often. Help me to continue to be more like you and to present my being as a "living sacrifice" to you. Help me when I am trying harder to fit in to the patterns of this world than to be living for you. Thank you for the gifts you give each of us and help us use them to further your kingdom. Amen.