"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."
Has God asked you leave a familiar place and live in a new location? Your initial reaction, "But Lord, our kids are settled here. You surely don't want us to uproot them now, do You?"
Or has God asked you to forgive someone that deeply wounded the core of who you are and your response was OR still is, "I AM NOT! I'd rather go to my grave than let that person off the hook. To hear me say I forgive them, No, they don't deserve it! Just kill me now..."
When God revealed the truth of Romans 12:1 to me years ago I prayed, "Lord, I want to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to You. I want my life to show devotion and worship to my Savior. With the help of Your Spirit living in me, I can do this!" I thought this 'living sacrifice' thing would be easy peasy. Wow, was I wrong! I found myself wanting to go back to the Old Testament times when the Children of God would sacrifice an unblemished lamb or offer a burnt offering and be done with it. That would be much easier than offering up MY life as a living sacrifice, especially when He asks me to do something I am not comfortable doing.
I just love how God uncovers the attitude of my heart! He led me to His truth in Psalm 51:16-17, David was broken over his sins and cried out, "You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to the Lord is a broken spirit. God, You will not despise a broken and humble heart." King David had all the possessions in the world at his finger tips and the only thing he could offer God, was himself, humbled and broken.
In order for me to be a living sacrifice that is pleasing to God, I must be broken and humble of heart. Daily, I must admit my sins before the Lord. Daily I must cry out to my Father to remove any remnant of self and be filled with His Holy Spirit. Daily, I must put my desires aside and be reminded that He is the desire of my heart! And daily, I must be reminded that a living sacrifice has the choice to be prostrate before the One who is the Sacrifice or walk away from the alter...
Yep, at times it would appear to be much easier to walk off the alter than to offer my life as a living sacrifice. As His child, in the end, when I stand face-to-face before my Savior (Romans 14:12,"So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God) and explain to Him the times I chose to walk away...I will probably drop to my knees in remorse. To see the pain in His eyes, unbearable! I believe He will then lift me to my feet and remind me that I am His because I chose to accept Him as my Savior while living on earth. He will then show me where my life was a living sacrifice, a sweet aroma or worship being offered up to heaven. Times I was aware of making the hard choice and even the times I had no clue. The joy I will see on my Savior's face, is what my heart longs for!
Father God, I thank You for the truth of Your words. Help me to die to self daily, be filled with Your Holy Spirit, and truly let You have Your way in me no matter how much it hurts. May I be sensitive to Your prompting to minister to someone in need, to pray for my brothers and sisters in Christ, to forgive those who have hurt me, and to share the Good News to lost souls. Let me always remember the smile on Your sweet face far exceeds the smile on other people's faces. I want to be pleasing to You! Amen