A Living Sacrifice

I've been thinking about sacrifices a lot lately.

It could be because the kids and I have been reading through Genesis and Exodus together. Perhaps it's because I have a nursing infant again and the sacrifice of my time and energy are all too obvious as I once again navigate this familiar season... only now with three other little children that have their own wants and needs.

Providentially, I have been memorizing Romans 12 with the discipleship group I am in... the first two verses are very familiar, but not to be glossed over...

"I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern w
hat is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Think of sacrifices... think of the Israelites, slaughtering an animal and laying it on the altar.

Looking at my life, looking at the "good works" the Lord has prepared for me (Ephesians 2), I think of all the opportunities I'm given to lay things on the altar. Each time I'm tempted to bemoan the mommy pooch hanging around my midsection? Another opportunity to lay it on the altar, a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Anytime I am tempted to neglect my children in favor of plopping on the couch to entertain myself with a social media scroll? Yep. It's sent to the altar.

This mindset of a living sacrifice allows me to abide in the Lord in the mundane moments of my day. In John 15, Jesus promises that by abiding in Him we can have joy to the full. Being mindful to prayerfully "lay it on the altar" protects me from becoming so self-centered that I forget that this life is one of sacrifice. It protects me from sighing in exasperation when I hear the wails of my new baby son through the monitor when I've just settled down to read my latest library book. Being a living sacrifice protects me from putting off the toddler who wants so desperately to help me make the muffins, when I know that means a bigger mess for me later.

Continuing to lay my own desires at the altar leads to a life marked by spiritual fruit. I can open-handedly accept the agenda the Lord has provided for the day, even when it includes mountains of laundry and never ending dishes. I can joyfully do my duty, what the Lord has prepared for me, even when it is messy and uncomfortable. I can laugh when my six-year-old asks how long I'll look pregnant because this body is not my own.

So, whether or not your a stay-at-home mom with four little kids like I am, the life of a believer is filled with the blessing and privilege to present your body as a living sacrifice. Allow God to transform your mind (Romans 12:2) so that, rather than culture defining what you should sacrifice your body to, the Lord defines it. Each time you find yourself grumbling about your life stage or job situation or wherever the Lord has placed you, lay it on the altar. And, the harder it is, the bigger the sacrifice, the greater the blessing to lay it down. Maybe you had Big Plans for your life that didn't exactly pan out. That is a greater sacrifice and, as Luke 16:10 says, he who is faithful with a little is also faithful with much.

Be faithful.


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