The word sacrifice does not usually inspire pleasant thoughts or memories… Often it is a reminder of things we have given up.
Like the dream for a Corvette that was replaced by a minivan
Or the desire for a cheeseburger and fries replaced by grilled chicken and broccoli.
You remember turning down that great promotion, driving that old car another year, putting off buying that new thing you really, really wanted, spending the weekends at home instead of with your friends, because it was better for your family. Sacrifice….
The word sacrifice also reminds us of the anguish of giving up something or someone you love, like the story of Abraham and his beloved son Isaac, who later gained more than he could have imagined by his willingness to sacrifice what he loved. We are reminded of the sacrifice that was made, the price that was paid by a Son on a hill called Calvary, because of His love for the Father and for us.
I read these words in Romans 12:1 this morning
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.”
I feel the urgency across over 2000 years in these words written by the apostle Paul. I sense the Holy Spirit saying “today if you are reading this I urge you, desire, advise, counsel, yes even plead with you to offer yourself, surrender yourself as living sacrifices, and become holy, set apart for God’s pleasure.
And then this “it is your spiritual, literal translation reasonable act of worship”.
This is scary territory. A place where in our culture of self-worship where we seek pleasure above all else, it is difficult to imagine this “sacrifice”. To imagine laying our life down, surrendering it all, forsaking our pleasure to bring pleasure to God.
But this is true worship, reasonable worship. After all He has done, how could we do anything less?