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October 11, 2017, 6:56 AM

All Of Me



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“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” (Romans 12:1-2).

Something happens when we hear a story of great sacrifice. It’s powerful and inspiring. It triggers a deep emotional response. There’s something about the Mother Teresas, Gandhis, and Martin Luther Kings of the world that stirs up higher, more noble dreams in us. It has always been this way; it’s just how God made us. Every culture honors those who gave their life for a cause. In the church, we still look back to the early Christians who suffered at the hands of Roman emperors. The world is full of statues commemorating the sacrifices people have made for something greater than themselves.

Why do we feel such a magnetic pull toward people who make great sacrifices? What is this mystical connection between our soul and the nobility of selfless acts? The answer, perhaps, is that sacrifice is the clearest and greatest evidence of the extent of one’s love and devotion toward a person, a cause, or a thing. The measure of our sacrifice demonstrates what matters most. When we’re truly devoted to someone or something, we’re willing to make sacrifices. C. Ingram writes, “If you want to know what you really love, all you have to do is notice where you’re giving your time, your energy, your money, and your dreams… We gladly spend ourselves on what we love.”

It’s not hard to see how that principle applies to being a follower of Jesus. Whatever we have to offer, it will naturally flow in the direction of our deepest affections. The degree of our sacrifice corresponds to the degree of our love. Great Christians demonstrate great love by making great sacrifices. The Apostle Paul was intimately familiar with this kind of sacrifice. He saw it as the appropriate response to God’s mercy and an act of true worship. “I urge you,” he wrote, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices… this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Did you notice the motivation for this act of worship? It’s “in view of God’s mercy” – a grateful response that acknowledges the worthiness of God for all that he has done for us. When Paul says “to offer” our bodies as a living sacrifice, the word literally means “to present” yourself. It’s the same word used in the Greek version of the Old Testament for the offering presented by the priest at the altar of sacrifice. God wants us to offer ourselves. He doesn’t just want our job, our money, or our stuff. He wants us. All of us. The tense of the verb Paul chooses here implies a moment of decision when you say, “Lord, all that I am is yours.” It is an act of complete surrender to the lordship of Christ. When Jesus said to follow him (Luke 14:26-27), this is what he intended. So, are you all in for Jesus?

Let us join in prayer: Lord, all I am, all I have, and all I hope to be is placed in your loving hands. Amen.

You are Loved!

Pastor Jason Stevens


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