Our Daily Practice

A Living Sacrifice
Romans 12:1 ESV

“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.”

This appeal here is much stronger than just a mere request. Thus, it is not simply a suggestion or a recommendation. It is more like insisting and urging us to do something. And, there is a strong sense of urgency in this exhortation, as well. So, it is to be taken seriously.

Also, this entreaty is not of human origin. It did not originate in the mind of Paul. These are not his thoughts. This comes directly from God. And, the basis for the appeal is the mercies of God. It is because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying on the cross, so that we could be delivered from slavery to sin, that we are to surrender our lives to him (Rom. 6:1-23).

So, what is a sacrifice? It costs us something. It is something we forgo, that we give up. It involves the surrender of something, usually something important or precious to us. And, surrender has to do with submission. Thus, it is yielding to the power, control or possession of another.

And, who owns us when we believe in Jesus Christ? Jesus does. God does. We are now God’s possession; thus we are to honor God with our lives. For, our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, for we were bought back for God with the precious blood of Christ. Thus, we are to no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Co. 6:19-20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24).

And, what are we to give up? Our bodies. And, what all do our bodies include? They include our minds, our hearts, our spirits, our wills, and our emotions, as well as our flesh and blood, skin and bones bodies. Our entire being is to be sacrificed to our Lord on his altar in death to sin and in living to him and to his righteousness (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

We are to be living sacrifices, for this has to do with our daily walks, how we live and conduct our lives day by day by day. Every day we, by the Spirit, must say “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. So, every day we say “No” to our flesh, and we say “Yes” to God and to his righteousness.

Holy and Acceptable

And, these living sacrifices must be holy and acceptable to God. So, these sacrifices are not on our terms, but on God’s terms. This is not like giving up something for Lent or for whatever other religious practice that might require a temporary sacrifice of some kind. We don’t get to choose what we will give up for God, and we aren’t permitted to hold anything back.

This is total surrender or our entire lives over to God, to come underneath his control, as we yield to him and to his ways, and as we walk in obedience to his commands, under his power and authority, and in his strength.

And, to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. It means our lives are now set apart for God and for his service to be whoever it is he wants us to be, and do whatever it is he has called us to do.

And, this is true worship of God. For, true worship of God is not singing songs with our hands waving in the air, not by itself alone. True worship of God is total surrender to him and to his will for our lives. And, out of that relationship we then lift holy hands to the Lord in prayer and in praise.

Not Conformed
Romans 12:2 ESV

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As part of being holy and living holy lives unto God, we must live lives separate from the world of sin. We are not supposed to be like the world anymore. We aren’t meant to think like the ungodly. We aren’t designed to do what the flesh of man is prone to do. We are not supposed to share their values, or their philosophies, or fear what they fear.

We aren’t supposed to live by our feelings, thinking that if it feels good it must be good. We aren’t meant to live for self-pleasure and self-gratification. We are expected to walk in the Spirit and no longer live to fulfill the desires of our sinful flesh.

We are designed to walk in the love of God, which is not about what we feel, but what we do. It is about moral preference, i.e. preferring what God prefers, and then doing it.

In other words, our salvation from sin is not just deliverance from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. And, it is definitely not free license to continue living in sin, habitually giving in to our fleshly appetites via sexual immorality, lust, pride, hatred, gossip, gluttony, stealing and cheating, etc.

Our Lord does not save us from our sins so that we can go on living in sin, only now without guilt. Our salvation is not just a “get-out-of-jail-free-card.” It is life altering. It is a complete turnabout. It is making a U-turn in the road. For, we were going one direction, and now we turn around and we go the opposite direction. We were going the way of the flesh, but now we are walking in the way of the Spirit of God, living lives pleasing to God.

When our minds are renewed in this way, of the Spirit of God, away from living to the flesh to now walking according to the Spirit, we are able to discern God’s will for our lives. We are able to discern right from wrong, and good from evil, and truth from lies, because we are walking in the Spirit and we are no longer living to please our flesh.

And, so we are in tune to God’s voice, and we can hear the Spirit speaking to our hearts. And, the longer we walk in obedience to our Lord, the more we will grow in this area of discerning good from evil. And, the more we will be convicted of the Spirit, too, to remove things from our lives which are a hindrance to our walks of faith, and which weigh us down. And, the more sensitized we will become to all the evil about us, and all the lies, too.

Sober Judgment
Romans 12:3 ESV

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

This sober judgment of ourselves has to do with us looking at ourselves through God’s eyes, and in truth. It has to do with looking at our lives through the lens of the word of God, too. It is neither lifting ourselves up beyond what we are living, nor is it belittling ourselves in order to appear humble, or perhaps to gain the attention of others.

Also, I think some people get this idea that we must not live too holy of lives, but we must maintain some level of regular failure, because that gives the appearance of humility if we regularly admit our failures. I think they get the idea that if they aren’t too holy that they will relate better to the people of the world, too. And, people will identify with them better. But, that isn’t what the Bible teaches.

I also hear from others this idea that those who are actually walking in holiness and in purity of devotion to the Lord must be stuck-up snobs who just think they are better than everyone else. Wrong! That is such worldly thinking!

Paul was confident of his relationship with the Lord to the point to where he actually encouraged others to emulate his walk with the Lord. Did that mean he was conceited? No! He had a sober judgment of himself according to truth, not snobbery.

So, having a sober and fair and honest judgment of oneself is not pride. Pride comes into play when we think that WE have accomplished all this in our own effort, and we begin to take the credit and the glory for what God has done in and through our lives. And, it is when we get this idea that we are beyond ever falling into sin, and so we let our guard down and then fail.

For, walking in holiness is how we are all supposed to live. Walking in purity and not in immorality should be the norm for our lives, not the exception. Removing from our lives all influences which are pulling us away from our Lord, and which are leading us into sin, is how we are all designed to conduct our lives. And, living lives truly separate from the world should be our daily practice.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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5 thoughts on “Our Daily Practice

  1. I very much try to tune into that discernment…….the more you are aware and use it, the better it becomes. A pastor once told me that all we go through here is not about the problem, the marriage, the friendship etc…..that it is all because HE wants us to become more HOLY! Thank you for this post…….blessings on all your writing too! May HE continue to speak to you friend!

    Liked by 1 person

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