When I first looked up this scripture, I originally thought that I would be writing about God’s “good, pleasing and perfect will.” However, I felt that I was to include the verse before it in my study today. The more I let that soak in, I see what God may be wanting me to learn and focus on today. As I began to look up scripture on this topic, I’ve become overwhelmed with how much scripture there is on sacrifice and I pray that God keeps me focused as I write and not lose track of what He wants to teach me. Please understand that this is a topic much bigger than one blog post, and may make a good study at some time; however, I am going to brush on it lightly to show that God requires sacrifice and while it is no longer an animal sacrifice even in the Old Testament we will read how God wants a different sacrifice from us. As we look at sacrifice, let’s remember what David wrote in Psalm 4:5, “Offer right sacrifices and trust in the LORD.” Let’s start with Romans 12:1-2.
“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,” Romans 12:1. As I looked up information on sacrifice, I was reminded of how many different types of sacrifice there are and they were given for many different reasons: praise, worship, thanksgiving, forgiveness, and fellowship. We can see that if we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, it is a sacrifice of worship. If we read on, we see what that may look like: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” One way that God wants us to sacrifice is to let go of our worldly patterns and allow God to renew our minds and hearts so we can bear good fruit (if you didn’t read yesterday’s blog post, please do). Please look up Hebrews 13:15-16 and see another way we sacrifice to God. Praising God through everything is one way we sacrifice – this can be difficult when we are facing difficult times; however, when we remember how amazing our God is, we can always find a reason to praise Him. This section of scripture also speaks of doing good and sharing with others is a sacrifice that is pleasing to Him.
Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise.” God asks us to sacrifice of ourselves in the form of brokenness; not a brokenness that brings oppression but brokenness that brings us to a realization that we are not perfect and we need God. This requires a sacrifice of our self-centeredness and pride and we die to our will and follow God’s will as we see in Romans 12:2b, “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Please look up Ephesians 5:1-2. Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t just a physical sacrifice; it was a sacrifice of love. He loved us so much that He was willing to give everything up so we could be with Him. We are asked to live a life of love which often requires a sacrifice of ourselves. Sometimes it isn’t easy to love others and we are giving of ourselves when we love. We Americans always speak of our “rights,” but sometimes love requires us to give up our rights. Sometimes love requires us to not just consider what our rights are but to consider what the other persons rights are as well.
In what ways are you offering yourself as a good sacrifice to God?