The children and I had a good discussion the other morning on being a “living sacrifice”.
Romans 12:1-2 “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. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you many discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Since Easter was just this last Sunday, we had talked about the Passover, so the children understand that animals where sacrificed at the Temple and we had also talked about the story of the lambs sacrificed on that last night before the Children of Israel where released from Egypt. Of course, the precious gift of Jesus as a sacrifice for us was still fresh in the children’s minds also. (“The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29). So I teasingly asked them if they ever wondered if the poor lambs knew what was coming and wanted to hide!!! I presented a word picture to them of little lambs running all over the place trying to hide so that they wouldn’t be sacrificed. They laughed, of course, at the idea. I then asked them if they thought Jesus wanted to hide when it was time for him to go to the cross. Quiet little minds began to think this over as we discussed Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane in Mark 14, when He asked His Heavenly Father to “remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” We then discussed presenting ourselves WHOLEHEARTEDLY as living sacrifices to the LORD. We discussed being conformed to the world, what that might look like and how that would interfere with our desire to do the will of the LORD. I then told them is a light way “Don’t be sheep that run away!"
Then this morning, the LORD began to teach me some.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
I’m thankful for His teaching...I have gotten entangled in some of the “wordly” things around me. And these worldly things can began to dominate if allowed. They can keep me from a WHOLEHEARTED devotion to the LORD. I have 11 little treasures (with two more coming home soon) and I want to teach them through my actions as well as my words how to live as a “living sacrifice”. And, honestly, that scares me sometimes, but then I remind myself of how very much My Heavenly Father loves me, that I am part of His Family and His Eternal Covenant, and that all He does if for my good. I remind myself of how much sweeter and fuller my life is when I die to my sinful desires and live for His Glory. And I remind myself that I can’t do this alone, I need Him every minute. I want to make sure that I’m not running away from Him and that there is no need to fear what might come.
On the other hand, I have also asked myself today if my “little sheep” are “running away” from me. Am I harsh or selfish? Do I frustrate of hurt their tender hearts? Am I a “good shepherd” to them or am I negligent? Well, of course, yes, at times I do these things. And by His grace and mercy, I confess this, accept His forgiveness and thank Him for the promise in I John1:9 that He will cleanse me from my unrighteousness.
We, as the LORD’s children have the opportunity each day to commit our lives to Him, to live for His glory, to willingly follow our Shepherd with adoring devotion. It’s quite the adventure.
May we encourage each other to be living sacrifices!! Onward for His Glory!