Tuesday, March 7, 2023

March 8 - Living Sacrifice

Living Sacrifice
by Chuck Zajicek

Scripture: Romans 12:1-8

My all-time favorite scripture for walking the Christian walk, written by the apostle Paul as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

My favorite translation for this passage is J. B. Phillips.  The following paragraph is verses 1 and 2   (there are no verse numbers in Phillips’).
With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold, but let God re-mold your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
Be ever aware of the mercies of God.  Worship God intelligently.  How?  By presenting our bodies, as a living sacrifice, dedicated to Him.  This an acceptable offering to Him.

As believers, what is our relationship to the world system we live in?  I like the image of the world squeezing people into its mold.  We are not to fall into this trap, but instead should let God re-mold our minds from the inside out.  Our minds need re-molding because by the time we are saved, we have already been influenced by the world’s non-Godly view.   I was 20 years old when I accepted Jesus, and to the best of my knowledge, had never been in a church.  My parents did not attend.  My world view was completely changed at the time of salvation.

I like practical, and this will prove, in practice, that God’s plan for us is good and meets His requirements. And not only does it meet His requirements, but it moves us in the direction of true maturity.

Christ of St. John of the Cross
Salvador Dali (1951)

The following paragraph is verses 3-8.

As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don't cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all. For just as you have many members in one physical body and those members differ in their functions, so we, though many in number, compose one body in Christ and are all members of one another. Through the grace of God we have different gifts. If our gift is preaching, let us preach to the limit of our vision. If it is serving others let us concentrate on our service; if it is teaching let us give all we have to our teaching; and if our gift be the stimulating of the faith of others let us set ourselves to it. Let the man who is called to give, give freely; let the man who wields authority think of his responsibility; and let the man who feels sympathy for his fellows act cheerfully.
What is our relationship to the church and fellow believers?  I especially like, “try having a sane estimate of our abilities."  This is so clear, that it needs no comments by me.  I have tried to apply these scriptures to my life, and it has worked well for me.

This is the end on the main part of my devotion.  I am going to add a second passage that has helped me in my walk.
The body of Christ  (the Church)
From Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth.  1 Cor 12:14-27  NIV

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.  If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,   But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

As I said above, I like practical. This is such good practical advice.  Not only regarding the church, but in business and all of life.  From the Pastor to the custodian, from the CEO to the bottom of the chain of command, every element is needed for the system to be complete and functioning.

Applying this has worked very well for me, especially in the business world.

I especially like the lyrics to How Firm a Foundation.
vs 1 His excellent Word to lead us.
vs 2 He will strengthen and uphold us.
vs 3 The flames will not hurt us & dross removal
vs 4 He Will never forsake us.