A Living Sacrifice
(Romans 12:1 NIV)
We’ve been focusing on discipleship and any time we do so we must also focus on Lordship. You have a Lord or lord…do you know who it is? Do others know who it is by how you live your life? You are living for your Lord or lord…and there are actually only 2 – Christ or Satan.
The enemy deceives us into thinking that we can call ourselves saved and Christ is okay with us choosing to be “lord” of any or all of our lives. I hear this in numerous ways from “Christians” nearly every day. That’s simply not true according to Luke 14:25-35 which we’ve looked at more than once.
In order to better understand the relationship of love, lordship and discipleship, check out today’s devotional from Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest” – https://utmost.org/classic/the-missionary%e2%80%99s-master-classic/.
Love is willingly submitting to and obeying whoever is Lord or lord in our life. Who’s your Lord or lord? All “lords” exact a tribute and in this world it is always in one way or another your life. The only One who’s worth your life is Christ! He asks us to lovingly and willingly submit, knowing that the life He has for us is the only one that’s worth it and that will last.
With regard to Lordship and discipleship, The Spirit has lead me to focus on Romans 12:1-3 (NIV) to help understand more fully what discipleship under The Lordship of Christ is to be.
Following are 3 thoughts that have been helpful in my walk with The Lord from these Scriptures and I pray these will help you as well:
1) In v. 1 we find that we are to obey in love because of the unfathomable mercies that Christ has shown us (read Romans 8-11). Perhaps the most powerful lesson The Spirit taught me that this command is not a salvation command as we commonly think of it, it is a “discipleship” or the sanctification part of salvation, command. Paul, in the inspiration of The Holy Spirit, is telling us what life after we’ve been saved looks like…we are to be a “living sacrifice” of what Christ has made holy and acceptable (because we cannot make ourselves holy and acceptable…only Christ can). This is our loving response and it is an ongoing day-to-day lifestyle!
2) In v. 2 we are told how to give ourselves to God by choosing to not be conformed to the world but “be being transformed” (that’s how it reads in the Greek wording) which means it’s a constant act of aligning our thoughts and lives with His Word and will. Also, as with nearly all of Scripture, it is written not just to each of us as individuals but also collectively to all believers in the community of Christ’s Family, The Church. Together we are to be transformed by His Word and Spirit rather than conforming in any way to the world and culture and as we do so we will be living, walking proof of God’s will in and through our lives, individually and collectively!
3) In v. 3 we find Paul explaining a little further what our lives and a true evaluation of a life surrendered and sacrificed to God is…we are not to become prideful, thinking too much of ourselves but in the essence of true Humility, we are to think of and know of ourselves honestly and clearly according to the measure of faith we’ve been given…and how we are growing in that faith by willingly choosing to walk according to these commands.
I pray you will consider these in your walk with Christ as Lord and watch His Spirit transform you more and more into His image!
I would be remiss if I didn’t return to Luke 14:25-35 for 3 brief additional lessons The Lord has taught me in His Word about what it means to be His disciple…
1) The extent of true influence to impact others is only in my prioritizing Christ as Lord in everything in my life (v. 26)
2) The extent of my ability to ultimately and eternally help others is only in wholehearted devotion to Christ…half-hearted efforts are mocked (vv. 28-32)
3) The extent to which I can point others to Christ is directly related to the extent that I deny or die to myself and take up His calling and work in my life (vv. 27, 33)
Trying to do any of this in my own strength, wisdom and efforts is futile and keeps me from a discipleship walk with Him! Let’s quit trying to soft sell what it means to be Christ’s disciples in a fallen world that loves their own soul and flesh more than Him. The only way we can be His disciple and make disciples of Christ, helping others know Him is in being sold out to Him!
While discipleship is about maturation it never changes from being this one thing only…a life completely surrendered and sold out to Jesus Christ!
Oswald Chambers says it well in the following devotional thought using the example of Paul’s life and writings to the church at Corinth, pointing us to what he wrote to the churches from Rome…
THE ALTAR OF FELLOWSHIP
So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. If I love you more, will you love me less? 2 Corinthians 12:15
“Human fellowship can go to great lengths, but not all the way. Fellowship with God can go all lengths. The apostle Paul literally fulfilled what we mean by this phrase, the altar of fellowship; he offered himself liberally and freely to God, and then offered himself at the hands of God, freely and fully, for the service of God among men, whether or not men understood him. ‘And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.’ Do we know anything about this altar of fellowship whereby we offer back to God the best He has given us, and then let Him re-offer it as broken bread and poured-out wine to His other children?”from “Still Higher for His Highest”
Notice that Paul’s focus in his writing and his life was always God first. Only then could he offer himself to others in God’s service and not be concerned about how they would respond or what they would think of him…”the less I be loved.”
Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Returning to Romans 12:1-3 (NIV) we sum this up as we are to offer our self back to God and allow Him to have His way in and through us. We can never do this if we are conforming to the world and concerned about what they think of us or how they will respond to us. That is their choice and we can entrust it to His hands. We are simply called to love and obey.
Love and Lordship…Action Item(s) –
- Read the Scriptures in this article and ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
- What can you do to be “a living sacrifice” given back to The Lord?
- List the ways you conform to the world. List the ways you are transforming your life by renewing your mind in His Word and Spirit.
- In 3) above, what will you do to make sure you’re transforming your life in line with His Word and will rather than conforming to the world? Be proactive.