Relate [a personal journey through Romans 12] part 1

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Romans 12:1 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.

Read Reading Romans 12 is overwhelming. Each sentence – each word even – overflows with rich truth and insight on relationships. I’ve read over this passage many times, inspired and convicted especially by verses 9-21, “The Marks of the True Christian.” However, I’ve rarely let it stick. I’ve struggled writing this and have started only to click “delete” multiple times. But here I am. And ironically, my struggle to write devotionals based on this passage is the perfect example for the first few verses.

Verse one uses the word “sacrifice.” When I hear that word, my mind is transported to a cold, damp prison cell. It’s pitch black and not even a glimmer of light can penetrate the thick darkness. Above, you can hear the roar of a crowd, laced with moans and screams. Heavy footsteps ring against the stone floor and come to an abrupt stop in front of your cell. It’s time. You swallow hard and follow the guard through an intricate system of tunnels until you arrive before a heavy trap door. It’s pushed open and sunlight blinds you. You’re shoved forward and suddenly you’re standing in the middle of an arena. It overwhelms you. The blood soaked sand fills your nostrils and the cheering of the crowd is deafening. You hear a deep snarl and slowly turn. A lion is calmly walking toward you, its tail swishing back and forth. Time stands still and then it pounces.

That’s what comes to my mind when I hear the word “sacrifice.” I think of the early Christians in Rome who were killed for their faith. Thankfully, in a lot of countries, people are rarely – if ever – killed for being a Christian. So what does it look like to be a living sacrifice in safe countries?

I think it means surrender. Surrendering your desires and fears and dreams to God and trusting Him. It means saying “Your will, not mine.” It means not talking about your friends and teachers behind their back. It means not talking about your enemies behind their back. It means giving up your dream to play professional sports because you don’t have time for God in your busy schedule. It means confessing your sin and changing your habits because it’s what God desires. For me, it was surrendering my writing. It was saying, “Lord, I know my writing might not be the best and I might not know what to say about these verses but I’m going to write and trust that you’ll show up.”

Ponder What in your life do you need to surrender?

Read more about this new devotional series here

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