And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2, NLT)
“A living and holy sacrifice”. How exactly does that work?
If you’ve ever read the Old Testament, you’ll know all about sacrifices. The Jewish people had to sacrifice all the time; burnt offerings, sin offerings, peace offerings, etc. But, thanks to Jesus, we don’t have to do that anymore. Jesus was the ultimate, perfect sacrifice; by giving up His life, He offered the gift of forgiveness and eternal life to us.
But here’s the confusing part: Sacrifices are dead. But the verses above clearly tell us to be a living sacrifice. Doesn’t that seem like a contradiction?
Something comes to mind as I write this. Some people have literally sacrificed their lives for Christ–martyrs. There are those in the world that would say this is crazy. There are some who would say that God is cruel to ask people to die for Him. Well, you know what? These people are speaking out of ignorance and a love for their life.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21, NIV)
You see, for Christians, everything isn’t over when we die. Death is really just a door. On one side is this earthly life; on the other is heaven. And, really, which one sounds better to you? This life is filled with pain, heartbreak, and trouble. In heaven, there will be no more pain and no more tears. We will live in the presence of God! How amazing is that? But to people who don’t believe in God, I can see how death would be a horrible thing; I guess that, for them, it is. For Christians, however, though we will be saddened when a loved one dies, if they knew Christ as their Lord and Savior, we can rejoice in the knowledge that they are in a better place!
I’m starting to get off topic, though. Most of us will not be called to literally lay down our life for Christ. However, all of us are called to be a living sacrifice.
For you to be a living sacrifice, part of you must die. You will still be alive, yes, but you must let your flesh, your old sinful self, die. Because if you do not, you will continue to go back to those ways; you will continue to break the heart of the God who loves you more than anything.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
We are new creations. Don’t allow your old self to get in the way of a personal relationship with God.
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- Teen Hardships
- Beatitudes: Recap
- The Purpose of Being a Teenager
- Does God Understand?