‘Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.’ Romans 12:1 NIV
Paul writes, ‘Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.’ During a Jewish sacrifice, an animal would be killed and then its body placed on the altar to be consumed by fire. So what happens if you put a live creature on the altar and say, ‘Stay there until you’re consumed,’ then light the fire? The creature will jump off! But Paul encourages us to crawl back onto the altar, to surrender day by day, moment by moment. In the moment it feels like death, but it is really the only way to live.
For example, suppose somebody does something that angers you. The situation is complicated, so you are not even sure of the right way to respond. Without even trying, your mind fills with all kinds of bad thoughts. In that moment you do not know what you should do. But God knows, and if you surrender to Him, He will show you how to respond with grace. The options that look attractive to you—avoiding, evading, gossiping, blasting—you relinquish to God. If your hurt runs deep, it will be about five minutes before the revenge fantasies start raging back. You will have to surrender all over again. But you can recognise those fantasies a little quicker now, and yield a little longer.
As you learn to surrender to God in each given situation, you no longer have to surrender to your own impulses. You lose a life, but you gain a life—a life much better than the one you lost. In the end, it turns out that nothing you lost was really worth keeping anyway.
SoulFood: Est 4:13–5:3, Matt 6:16–18, Mark 2:18–22
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021
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