A Living Sacrifice

Romans 12:1, NIVUK
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.”

How do I offer my body as a living sacrifice to God? It might be choosing to avoid looking at, or listening to, certain things. And my mouth? King David once prayed that the words of his mouth would be acceptable in the Lord’s sight. For me this would mean abstaining from gossip and criticism. It would mean encouraging and blessing people with my words. What about my feet? I could choose to go to the right places and avoid the wrong ones. And my hands? I could use my hands to create something – a delicious meal, a work of art, or a beautiful garden. Or I could physically attack or destroy things and people.

Jesus said we weren’t just to listen to His teaching, but to put it into practice. In all the Healing Retreats, at Ellel Ministries Centres, we invite people to make Jesus Lord of every aspect of their lives. This isn’t just a matter of what they do physically, but also of what they think about, how they react emotionally, and what they choose to do.

After urging us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, the apostle Paul goes on to explain how this happens, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will’ (Romans 12:2).

How powerful my mind is! My worldview and mindsets motivate me throughout the whole of my life. I discovered that not all of the information from the people who influenced me most has been true. My mind needed cleansing from certain lies I’d believed, things I was told as a child by my family, things I was taught at school, or things I’d read somewhere.

As soon as the Holy Spirit revealed these things weren’t true, I renounced them and replaced them with God’s truth. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s an ongoing process. In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Paul wrote, ‘But test everything; hold fast what is good’. He said this in the context of prophecies, but the principle can be applied to many other things in modern life too. I’m so glad our minds can be renewed, as we yield to the Holy Spirit, read the bible, and ask the Lord to teach us His truth. My prayer is “Jesus, be Lord of my mind and all my thoughts”.

I love what the apostle Paul wrote: ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I’ve learned to do this by asking the question, “Would Jesus agree with this thought or not?” If He wouldn’t, then I must reject the thought, and replace it with the truth that Jesus would agree with.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how I thank You that You don’t just tell us what to do! You help us, as we desire to please You in the things we do and say and think. Please remind me by Your Holy Spirit to test all things and to reject anything that is not pleasing to You, but hold fast to what is good in Your sight. Amen.

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