God-Pleasing Sacrifice

“Sacrifice” is not a word frequently heard in our postmodern culture.

In a society that strives for more, bigger, and better, the idea of sacrificing anything is almost unthinkable. However, the concept of sacrifice may be widely misunderstood, even for Christians.

We recall the Old Testament stories of sacrifice involving the slaughter of animals for the redemption of sin. And we accept that Jesus became the Lamb slaughtered—sacrificed—for our personal sin so that we have been redeemed by His blood shed on the cross.

Under the New Covenant—in other words, after Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as a substitute for our sin offering—we are told to “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Rom. 12:1). Our bodies—our entire lives—are to be living sacrifices instead of dead sacrifices. What we have to offer as worship is not a dead substitution but, instead, a life that is “holy and pleasing to God.”

Instead of sacrifice being a negative, distasteful, grumbling act of contrition, it becomes an opportunity to worship with everything in our physical and spiritual beings!

But to offer our lives on the altar of sacrifice, we may indeed need to release some things so that our sacrifices are holy and pleasing.

Which of these decisions are necessary for you?

  • I am releasing control over my life. If you surrender your total life, will God redirect your plans? Shatter your goals? Lead you to the edge of faith? Perhaps so. But if He calls you to new ways of service, then He will open doors to even greater blessings than you can imagine.
  • I am releasing my possessions. Will you need to give everything to the poor and become poor? Some are called to do that. Or perhaps you might give away or sell some possessions to allow you to live with fewer burdens to maintain and more financial resources to use to help others. Possessions can be used for good, but you need to make wise choices.
  • I am releasing my focus. How will living a life completely surrendered to God change your focus? Is there a corner of your life that isn’t surrendered? Use of time and finances are 2 big areas that present challenges. Sacrifice certainly doesn’t mean that you never have leisure time or spend money on fun purchases. It simply means that your focus with everything will be prioritized by what God expects.
  • I am releasing my need for recognition or rewards. Working in His power and for His glory and not for favor from other humans is a big step.
  • I am releasing anxiety. When the evil flames of anxiety flare in your life, remember that you have sacrificed that emotion in exchange for peace, contentment, and joy.

What sacrifice does God expect of His children in today’s world? Our mission is the same challenge Paul gave those early Christians in Rome.

Lives totally surrendered = holy, God-pleasing worship.

Sammie Jo Barstow is a freelance writer who lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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