Romans 12:1-8, Hebrews 13:15-16, Ephesians 4:1-16
What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? Consider a couple of everyday examples: marriage and parenthood.
Marriage and parenthood are two of the most significant relationships people have in life. They are also two of the most demanding. Both ask for sacrifices not fully known before the “big day.” How many times have you talked with engaged couples or expectant parents and listened as they painted a glorious picture of what they thought their upcoming life would look like? And if you are already down those roads a bit, how many times have you heard this and thought, They just can’t see how many surprises await.
If you have traveled the road of marriage or parenthood for any significant distance, you know what’s involved. You know the coordination, the patience, and the sacrifice required. I remember a few years ago when talking with an engaged couple. The husband-to-be said, “You married people are sometimes the worst advertisements for marriage.” Surprised, I asked what he meant. He said married people often seem to take it upon themselves to warn young engaged couples about how hard marriage is.
Of course, some of the “advice” is terrible, like: “Are you sure you really want to give your life to serve someone else?” “You really don’t know what you are signing up for.” “There goes your freedom.”
Marriage is a sacrifice. No one argues that point. Sadly, those who make comments like these don’t seem to get the joy of living as a sacrifice. Laying down your life for another is a learned joy; it comes from humility, from valuing the other more than yourself.
Marriage and parenthood are challenging. They are examples of the biblical call for self-sacrifice. But sacrifice is a beautiful challenge. When we sacrifice for the right things, we are shaped into a humble people, and joy is the result.
In our Scripture today, God calls us to be a living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). This is a beautiful thing—living while sacrificing. Just like the engaged couple that is unaware of the joyful sacrifices ahead of them, the Christ follower is also blissfully unaware of the joy that awaits him when he learns to function as a living sacrifice.
Following Jesus costs us everything, but it gives us everything we really need, too. Consider what it means to present your bodies as living sacrifices, and take courage in the beautiful challenge of resting in Christ in deeper ways than you ever thought possible.
Written by Jason Tippetts