I am reading Romans right now, in fact have been stuck in Paul’s world lately. I don’t just read one version any more. Thanks to Olive Tree and my android tablet, I am able to easily read several translations with a touch. I know that there have been parallel bibles put out and I know that some people have to have the real thing to enjoy reading but deal with it I actually would rather read on my tablet than anywhere else. I love the note feature and all that. Anyway. Romans 12:1 is one of those verses that I have read more times than I can count. I am a NLT man for daily study and it reads very similar to other versions you have read.
Romans 12:1 (NLT)
1 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.
If you have been in the Christ follower camp for any amount of time you have read this verse over and over. Many time’s it’s used to compel us to give up some great big part of us to be used by God. Sacrifice is a big deal to Christians, we tend to like to list out all the things that we have done for God, we like to feel superior about how much we have given up, how much we have given too, how humble we are, the list goes on. Giving our bodies to God seems like the ultimate sacrifice. Then I read the same thing in the Message and it brought a different light to this rather well known verse.
Romans 12:1 (MSG)
1 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
It kind of gives this whole verse a bit of a different meaning, at least it does to me. It’s not my church self that God wants offered up. It’s not the put together, "Man of God" that God want’s on the altar. He isn’t looking for someone who has tons to offer him. He isn’t even looking for someone that has figured out the whole Christ Follower thing and is leading tons of people to a meaningful relationship with God because of how great they are, how intense their testimony is and how wonderful a speaker they are. Nope that’s not the sacrifice that God wants, so why is that the sacrifice that so many of us are willing to give?
Why are we willing to give our vacation by going on a missions trip as a family? What makes us think that volunteering that week of VBS in the Summer is a living sacrifice, or being on the board of the church or volunteering to be a chaperone for the ski trip, or when the kids ministry goes to lazer tag. Why do we think that sacrifice is when we sign up to sing in the choir, or to be on the worship team. What makes selective service a sacrifice?
No the real life sacrifice is the one that takes our everyday ordinary life, sleeping, eating going to work and walking around life. Giving that over to God. What happens when we realize that giving up our vacation to minister as a family isn’t really what it’s about, it’s about what we do when we return home from that missions trip. It’s not about singing with the worship team on Sunday, its about a little girl standing up in Williamsburg on a horse mounting stand and singing Jesus Loves Me without any regard for what others say or think. (thank you Zoey for teaching daddy something) It’s more than volunteering at Thanksgiving or Christmas, at the shelter.
As we work out our salvation, as we walk through life attempting to follow Christ, we must get it through our heads that God wants to permeate every part of our being and be part of every aspect of our life. Does this mean I have to ask him if I should use regular sugar or sugar in the raw in my coffee? No what it means is I need to realize that he’s there for the big decisions as well as the small ones. That he wants to be more than just a consideration, he wants to be an active part in who we are and what we are doing. He wants us to trust him with more than our worship service attendance, and small group meetings, and whatever other ministry we find ourselves involved in. He wants to be a part of our every day.
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