Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Living Sacrifices


Paul tells the believers in Rome to act on the mercy they have received and not be idle, as these leads to trouble. Unbelievers use the body to pursue the sinful desires of the flesh, whereas believers are to use their bodies to glorify God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Once a person has made the life-changing decision to follow the Jesus Christ, there should be a continual focus on Him and renewal by the Spirit. We continue to present our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord (Romans 12:1-2) through serving one another and outsiders...visiting, assembling together and the like. This is the idea behind the word – latreia, which means to live the life, walk the walk. It is not just about Sundays, but this is a general word for worship that covers the whole range of our Christian experience. Every day is a worship a sense, when I yield my body, mind and spirit to the Lord in service. This is reasonable, spiritual worship – it is to be deliberate and intelligent…in contrast to the sacrifices of the old covenant that were dutifully performed.

This is a continual, daily challenge, as Satan is, through the world, wanting to control our thinking, making us conformers to this world. The world, here, is not physical geography, but the world system of natural habits, and the values of sinful man apart from God. There are always two potential occupants for our hearts – we can be submissive or prideful, wise or foolish, sheep or goats, for God or for Satan – there is no middle ground. Believers adopt a new value system, based upon a new, higher concept of life – eternity. It is not of earth or time. We must allow God to continually transform our minds – metamorphosis is the word, literally translated from the original. It is the same word used concerning “the transfiguration” (Matthew 17:2).
God transforms His people by His Spirit and through His Word. By meditating on His Word and making it a part of our inner man, God makes our minds more spiritually focused. As the mind controls the body, so the will controls the mind. This can be a real struggle for some, who may want to give their minds and bodies to serve the Lord, but are unwilling to break their self-serving, rebellious will. Those who believe that they can control their lives through “will power” usually fail. It is necessary to surrender our wills through prayer – “Your will be done, O Lord.” In allowing His will to be worked out in our lives…it proves His will to be omnipotent. It is only when our wills are yielded to the Lord that He can use us and give us the “spiritual will power” to be victorious over sin, Satan and the world system.

Satan will seldom blitz us all out, although he is capable of doing this. Most believers can recognize this tactic and can steer clear of such traps. It is the subtle, imperceptible drifting away that snatches many believers. Satan lulls them to sleep, spiritually. We can’t allow this to take place. What is the solution? Latreia -- giving your whole live in submission to the Lord so that He can use you for His will…body, mind and spirit. It is only when we “let go” and “let God” be in control of our lives that we quit giving in to the world so much, making the big mistakes…but allowing the Lord to help our lives make sense!

A friend, Stan, posed this question on his facebook: What are the signs of spiritual recession? Then, what are the signs of recovery? Another friend, Avery replied...wonderfully: A sign of spiritual recession…isolation from other believers. You just don’t feel like you belong OR THAT anyone can relate or would offer love without conditions. A sign of recovery…ministry and service to others. He adds – once I get out of myself and begin to serve others, I am made aware, once again, that it has never been about me BUT ALWAYS about Him. This path I have found is the starting point of my spiritual recovery…fellowship soon follows.

Food for thought. Blessings,


No comments: