Living for God

Romans 12:1-2 "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. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God."
What is a living sacrifice, and how are we as Christians any different than the world around us?
In Romans 12 we see the appeal to Christians for us to be different. Part of the life-changing salvation that our eternity hangs on to is the changing act that Christ has done in our lives. Christ took on flesh, lived the perfect life that none of us could live, and then laid that life down on the cross and took on the sin that kept us from a relationship with the Father. Christ defeated death and defeated the sin in our lives. Christ sacrificed himself and took on everything we deserved in the process. As Christians, we are called to now walk in a way that we are constantly laying our lives down for God and his will.

Wednesday night our students took a deep dive into Matthew 7:24-29. In this passage, we saw the difference between living a life where one hears God’s word and one who hears and does what God's word says. The truth is we are called to hear and interact with God’s word and implement it within our lives. We are called to spend time with God and follow after his perfect will and plan for our lives. By reading our Bible and spending time with him, we not only learn His word we find ourselves preparing ourselves to be a sacrifice. We must further separate ourselves from the world.

A life separated and called out by God is a life that is called to live for Christ and to be different.
In Matthew 5:16 we are called to allow "Your light to shine before others, that they might see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” We are called out by God and set apart to be different. When I was younger I always used to hear the phrase: “you may be the only Bible that someone ever reads.” While by no means is this a scripture you can open your Bible to, I do believe that we see in scripture that a Christian's striving toward Christlikeness reflects God’s glory to the world around us. What does a parent do when their young child is scared of the dark and it is time for bed? They leave a light on in the room or even purchase a night light so that their child can sleep without the fear of the darkness around them. The light makes a difference because a child is no longer face to face with their fear. The light calms the fear of the child, and so do we as Christians in our world. We are called to light up the dark world around us and to be that sense of difference. If we are truly striving to live for Christ, and if we are truly wanting to live as God called us to live then we must shine his word, love, and grace out to our surrounding world.

A life that is a living sacrifice is a life that lives as a new creation
 If we want God to use our shining light, we must daily put our lives, ambitions, goals, and time upon the altar and give ourselves over to him. We see in verse two of Romans 12 that we are to abstain from the works of the world, and the desire of the flesh. By doing this, we allow ourselves to be transformed and changed allowing us to see what God desires us to do. When we are transformed into a new creation, we become new altogether.

So how are we a new creation set apart to serve Christ?
1. We are a new creation because our RELATIONSHIPS have changed
- Our relationship with God has changed due to Christ acting as our mercy seat.
- Our relationship with the world has changed because we are now called to live for God and live differently in the world around us.
2. We are a new creation because we are RECONCILED to Christ.
- Our sin is RECONCILED-by the action that took place on the cross at Calvary.
3. We are a new creation because old things have PASSED away
- Our past no longer defines us since we were RECONCILED.
- We now have the heart of CHRIST and the indwelling HOLY SPIRIT as a down payment.
Christ is in the remaking business, using our pasts and limits to show his glory.