Prayer To Present My Life As A Living Sacrifice
31 Prayer Quotes – Be Inspired and Encouraged!
God promises us in His Word that He hears every word that we pray to Him. a good parent, He is waiting, ready, and willing to listen to our worries, concerns, and needs. Whether we are seeking forgiveness, strength, or healing, prayer provides the channel to communicate with God and receive supernatural strength and power!
The following prayer quotes will help inspire and encourage your prayer life as you seek a stronger faith. Share these verses with others who need to experience the power of prayer in their life!
Our Favorite Prayer Quotes:
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado
“She (my mother) became a warrior far superior to any epic hero. She became a giant on her knees. With a sword in one hand she battled the enemies of death and disease, and with her other hand stretched toward heaven she kept beseeching God’s help and His mercy.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes
“There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer.” – Beth Moore
“The reality is, my prayers don't change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” – Lysa TerKeurst
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” – Corrie ten Boom
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” – Martin Luther
“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'” – Billy Graham
“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon
“If you believe in prayer at all, expect God to hear you. If you do not expect, you will not have. God will not hear you unless you believe He will hear you; but if you believe He will, He will be as good as your faith.” – Charles Spurgeon
“Let no one profess to trust in God, and yet lay up for future wants, otherwise the Lord will first send him to the hoard he has amassed, before He can answer the prayer for more.” – George Muller
“I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Prayer is simply talking to God a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day.” – Joyce Meyer
“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” – Soren Kierkegaard
“God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out. The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: 'Use me.'” – Rick Warren
“Rather than set aside daily time for prayer, I pray constantly and spontaneously about everything I encounter on a daily basis. When someone shares something with me, I'll often simply say, 'let's pray about this right now.'” – Thomas Kinkade
“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” – Corrie Ten Boom
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” – Mother Teresa
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln
“The prayer offered to God in the morning during your quiet time is the key that unlocks the door of the day. Any athlete knows that it is the start that ensures a good finish.” – Adrian Rogers
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” – Mother Teresa
“God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” – Mother Teresa
“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” – Billy Graham
“It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk.” – Henry Ward Beecher
“Prayer makes a godly man, and puts within him the mind of Christ, the mind of humility, of self-surrender, of service, of pity, and of prayer. If we really pray, we will become more God, or else we will quit praying.” – E.M. Bounds
“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds
Max Lucado video on Prayer: Pastor Max Lucado, author of Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer, may surprise you with his explanation of the most important aspect of any prayer. “Of all the words of a prayer,” Max teaches, “the most important one is the first one…”
Crosswalk.com: What is the most important aspect of prayer? – Max Lucado from crosswalkquestions on GodTube.
Bible Quotes on Prayer
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. – 1 John 5:15
Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive. – 2 Chronicles 6:21My prayer is not that you take them the world but that you protect them from the evil one. – John 17:15
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
More Bible praying quotes at the BibleStudyTools.com Prayer Bible Verses page.
Here are some of the most read prayers from our Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray.
Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Prayer for Sick
The Prayer of Jabez
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
A Birthday Prayer
This article is part of our larger Inspiring Quotes resource meant to encourage strengthen your faith. Visit our most popular quotes by well known Christians and theologians to find more inspiration.
Remember, the Holy Spirit can work through us when we increase our faith and share it with us! Please pass along any quotes that touch your heart because you never know light you can shine on someone else’s dark day!
Prayer Quotes – Inspiring and Encouraging!
Quotes About Love
Thanksgiving Quotes – Experience Gratitude!
30 Inspiring Christian Quotes
God’s Love Quotes
Dr Martin Luther King Jr Quotes
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes
Charles Spurgeon Quotes
Billy Graham Quotes
Corrie Ten Boom Quotes
C.S. Lewis Quotes
Elisabeth Elliot Quotes
Mother Teresa Quotes
7 Important Bible Verses About Sacrifice
Sacrifice is a part of the Christian faith. We sacrifice our lives daily as we live with the impact of Christ’s sacrifice for us.
While making a sacrifice isn’t easy, it does remind us that we need to hold loosely to the things of this world. Heaven is our true home and everything we give up on earth is temporary compared to eternity.
Since the concept of sacrifice is so important for believers, take time today to learn from the 7 important Bible verses about sacrifice.
Sacrifice doesn’t replace obedience
“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
Many believers sacrifice their time, money, and energy doing good works for God. However, we must be careful to not let the sacrifice take precedence over our obedience to the teachings of the Bible. A sacrificial gift to the Lord is honored as long as we are obeying His commandments and teaching others to do as well.
Sacrifice costs something
“But the king replied to Araunah, ‘No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing”” (2 Samuel 24:24).
A sacrifice may be freely given, but it’s not a genuine sacrifice if it doesn’t mean anything to us. When we feel the pain of our sacrifice—we know that we are really giving up something important. As we grow in our faith, we give our sacrifices to God more freely because we understand His greater sacrifice that allows us to know His grace.
Sacrifice can be a broken heart
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
When we sincerely seek after God’s forgiveness for our sins, it’s a sacrifice that He will never turn away. The Lord wants us to come to Him and be made clean from our sinful choices. Many times pride blocks us from admitting our sins. Yet when we humble ourselves, we find His grace and forgiveness.
Sacrifice is an everyday occurrence
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).
Every day we have the choice to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God. The Lord doesn’t force His children to obey Him; rather He longs for us to choose His ways over our own desires. Our sacrifice of living for Jesus on a daily basis in spite of the temptations, trials, and tragedies of life encourages an investment of sacrifice with an eternity of rewards.
Sacrifice comes through thanksgiving
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
When we take the time to be thankful, we are giving God a sacrifice. It may not feel a sacrifice to us, but when we consider His faithfulness to the world—we respond with gratefulness. Many people will go about their day-to-day activities and never once give God the sacrifice of thanksgiving. However, as believers we press towards being thankful every single day.
Sacrifice is pleasing to God
“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are often compelled to do good for others even though they don’t always return the favor. Yet we sacrifices with good works and the sharing of our resources as to the Lord and not to men. Our Father in heaven is pleased to see His children doing the right things in spite the pressure to only please themselves.
Sacrifice ultimately was paid through Jesus Christ
“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25).
The sacrifice of Jesus covered the sins of all people once and forever. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, there was no longer a need to sacrifice animals. It was finished at the cross. When we put our trust in Jesus, His blood shed covers us so that we don’t have to pay the penalty for our sins—not that we ever could.
Sacrifice your Life
We are given opportunities every day to sacrifice our own wants and needs for the furthering of God’s kingdom. As we daily sacrifice, let us keep in mind that everything we do in the name of Jesus Christ is a gift to the One who paid it all at Calvary.
Something else to read about sacrifice: Romans 12: Bible Study
Resource – New International Version Bible, The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblca, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Would you to get the daily question in your messenger? Just click the button below to get started.
as: Bible Verses, sacrifice
Share this post: SU | Reddit | Digg | |
Present Your Bodies a Living Sacrifice | Rick Renner Ministries
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
— Romans 12:1
When Mary’s days of purification were finished after the miraculous birth of Jesus, Luke 2:22 tells us that Mary and Joseph brought their son to Jerusalem to dedicate Him to the Lord. It says, “And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.”
Mary and Joseph came to Jerusalem with the express purpose “to present” the young Jesus to God. To make such a journey to Jerusalem required finances to pay for the journey itself and to purchase the turtledoves and pigeons that would be offered to God at the time they presented Jesus.
This was no casual, accidental, haphazard, unplanned event. Presenting Jesus to the Lord in the temple was a serious occasion, as it was for all males in Israel. Such an event was planned in advance and done with great reverence toward God.
Thus, it was a very hallowed, consecrated, holy moment as Joseph and Mary approached the Temple at the time set for Jesus’ dedication.
Luke 2:22 says that Joseph and Mary came “…to present him to the Lord.” The word “present” comes from the Greek word paristimi, which is a compound of the words para and istimi. The prefix para means alongside, and the word istimi means to place.When these two words are compounded together, the new word means to place beside; to place at one’s disposal; to surrender; to offer,as to offer a sacrifice to God; or to present,as to present a special offering to God.
This word undoubtedly communicates the fact that Mary and Joseph were coming to the Temple on this day to intentionally place their newborn son into God’s close care. They were dedicating and entrusting Him into God’s protection.
They were surrendering Him to God’s supervision and making a pledge that this new baby boy was God’s possession and that God could therefore use Him however He wished.
This Greek word paristimi (“present”) is precisely the same word that Paul used in Romans 12:1, when he wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” The fact that Paul used this same word sheds some very important light on Romans 12:1.
First, we know that Paul was very earnest when he wrote Romans 12:1 because he began by solemnly telling them, “I beseech you.…” The word “beseech” comes from the Greek word parakaleo. As noted in other Sparkling Gems, the word parakaleo is a Greek compound of the words para and kaleo.
The word para means alongside, and the word kaleo means to call or to beckon.
When these two words are compounded together, the new word pictures one who comes alongside someone else, as close as he can get, and then begins to passionately call out, plead, beckon, beg, and beseech that other person to do something on his behalf.
In many places, the word parakaleo is used to depict a person who is earnestly praying. Therefore, the word parakaleo is also a word that can depict a person who is sincerely expressing his heart to God in prayer.In light of this fact,one Greek scholar says that it is almost as if the apostle Paul dropped to his knees in this verse and began to prayerfully plead for his Roman readers to hear his petition.
His heartfelt request was that they would present their bodies a living sacrifice to God.
It must be noted that the word parakaleo also described what military commanders did before they sent their troops into battle.
After summoning the troops together, their commander would beseech or exhort them as he warned them of the realities of warfare.
The commander would describe in detail what they were going to face in their battle; then he’d urge them to keep on fighting bravely until the victory was won. All of this is included in the word parakaleo.
This is very significant in the context of Romans 12:1. Paul was urging believers to dedicate their bodies to God.
However, Paul knew that when a believer makes the decision to dedicate his body to God, the carnal nature may respond by going to war against the spirit. The flesh just doesn’t want to submit to the law of God or to do what God wishes.
So when Paul besought his readers to yield their bodies to God, he was also warning them that such an action might stir up a battle in the flesh.The carnal nature has long been the driving force for what is done with the body; therefore, it will most ly rebel when it is told to submit to God’s control. This is why anyone who decides to present and dedicate his body to God must be ready and willing to fight the battle with the flesh until victory is achieved.
As mentioned earlier, Paul uses the Greek word paristimi when he says we are to “present” our bodies as a living sacrifice. This is exactly the same word used in Luke 2:22 to depict that moment when Jesus’ parents presented baby Jesus to God in the Temple at Jerusalem.
Just as Jesus’ dedication was no casual, accidental, haphazard, unplanned event, now Paul is telling us that the presentation of our bodies to God is a serious occurrence in our lives.
This is no light affair, but one that should be done in a very hallowed, consecrated, and serious manner. It is a crucial, historical moment in our lives when we intentionally place ourselves in God’s close care.
We surrender ourselves and all that we are to God’s supervision, making a solemn pledge that we are His and that He can therefore use us in whatever way He wishes.
You may wrongly assume that because you are a believer, this act of surrender has already occurred. But just because you are a believer does not mean that you have completely surrendered your body to God. If becoming a believer automatically caused this act of surrender to take place, Paul wouldn’t have found it necessary to earnestly urge the Roman believers to do it.
Notice that we are to present ourselves as a “living sacrifice.” In the Old Testament, an animal sacrifice would be offered upon the altar. Because the animal was dead, it could only be presented to the Lord once as a sacrificial offering.
But in the New Testament, we are urged to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice. This implies that we must live in a continual state of surrender and consecration.Our commitment may begin with a momentous, “once-and-for-all” decision, but it must be followed with a daily decision to keep on surrendering ourselves to the Lord.
Thus, we must see every day of our lives as another day — another opportunity — to yield our lives to God.
Each new day necessitates new surrender and consecration. What you surrendered to God yesterday is already old. Today is a new day and demands a new and higher level of consecration.
Therefore, as you awake each morning, train yourself to begin your day with a prayer of consecration in which you solemnly and in holy reverence present yourself and all that you are to God’s purposes.
Don’t assume that because you did it yesterday, you don’t need to do it today. What you did yesterday remains in yesterday’s sphere.
Each new day beckons you to take a step closer to the Lord and to make a commitment more serious than the one you made before.
Have you willfully, deliberately, and intentionally presented your body to God? Just as Jesus’ parents brought Him to the Temple to present Him to the Lord, God is asking you to reverently come into His Presence to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to be used for His purposes.
If you haven’t ever taken this step of faith, are you ready to take it now? The carnal nature may declare war when you make the decision to surrender completely to the Lord, so be prepared to deal with the flesh.Just determine that you will not stop until the victory has been won!
Today is the day to surrender yourself into the hands of God. Don’t wait until tomorrow — and don’t depend on what you did yesterday. This is a new day, and God is calling you to surrender yourself anew. So don’t let ANYTHING hold you back from taking this step of faith right now!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, today I am surrendering myself as a living sacrifice to be used in whatever way You choose. I know You are beckoning me to come higher and closer than ever before, so right now I approach You with great reverence and surrender myself more fully to You.
With all my heart I vow to give You my soul, my emotions, my spirit, my body, and everything else that I am and that I possess. I want to live for You and to serve You for the rest of my life. Starting today, I yield to You completely.
When You speak, I will do exactly what You tell me to do.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I am surrendered to the purposes of God. I daily consecrate myself to God — to do what He wants and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. My flesh may try to wage war against this consecration, but I take authority over my flesh and I tell it what to do.
My body does not control me. Instead, I control it, using it as my instrument to do whatever God asks me to do. Every day when I awake, I renew my consecration and personal commitment to serve God with all my heart. I am His completely, and I will obey whatever His Spirit prompts me to do.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Has there been a moment in your life when you seriously consecrated yourself more fully to God’s purposes? When was that moment? How did this deeper commitment affect your life?
2. Do you daily consecrate yourself to the Lord? If the answer is no, how long has it been since you dropped to your knees and reverently surrendered your life, your mind, your emotions, your talents, your money, your family, your job, your friends, your plans, and all that you are to the Lord?
3. Would God say that you live your life a “living sacrifice”?
Present Your Bodies As a Living Sacrifice to God
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 may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God . . .” I appeal to you therefore . . .” That is, I appeal to you on the basis of what has gone before in the first eleven chapters of this letter.
I will now call you in chapters twelve through sixteen to a kind of life that is built on something. It doesn’t come nowhere. It has roots. This new Christian life is built on chapters one through eleven. Build your Christian life on Romans 1–11.
Sink your roots here. And your fruit will be Christian fruit.
And he sums up the foundation with the phrase, “the mercies of God.” I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God. That’s the sum of Romans 1–11: “the mercies of God.” God has been merciful to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Because of Christ, those who believe in him are justified by faith, and reconciled to God, and have the hope of everlasting joy. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
A Life of Mercy
Build your lives on this mercy. Sink your roots in this mercy. And your new life will flow out with mercy. That is, Romans 12 will become a reality in your own life. Romans 12 oozes with mercy. “Show mercy with cheerfulness. . . . Let love be genuine. . . .
Give to the saints. . . . Bless those who persecute you. . . . Weep with those who weep. . . . Associate with the lowly. . . . Repay no one evil for evil. . . . Never avenge yourselves. . . . If your enemy is hungry feed him.
” Build your lives on mercy and become merciful.
Notice in passing that Paul models for us mercy even as he calls us to mercy in verse 1. First, he uses a gentle and winsome word: “I appeal” instead of “I command.” He says explicitly in Philemon 1:8–9 that the use of the word “appeal” is softer than the word “command” and is an expression of love and mercy.
Second, he calls them “brothers” and therefore puts himself down with them under the care and authority of God the Father, rather than over them because of his apostolic authority.
So even though his words do carry God’s authority, he uses this authority in a gentle and merciful way that models for us what he is about to command from us.
First, a Life of Worship
But today we notice something very significant in verse 1: Before Paul describes our new life in Christ as merciful, he describes it as worshipful.
Before you think that the Christian life has everything to do with being merciful to people, realize that it has everything to do with being worshipful toward God.
“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.” Before we give ourselves away in mercy to man, we give ourselves away in worship to God.
This is crucial to see. We must never let the Christian life drift into a mere social agenda. I use the word “mere” carefully, because if God is left out, our mercy will be mere social agenda. We do no one good in the end if we are not worshiping and leading them to worship in the acts of mercy that we do.If our good deeds are not expressing the worth of God, then our deeds are not worship, and in the end, will not be merciful. Making people comfortable or helping them feel good on the way to everlasting punishment, without the hope and the design that they see Christ in your good deeds, is not mercy. Mercy must aim to make much of Christ.
No one is saved who doesn’t meet and make much of Christ. And not to care about saving is not merciful.
“Before we give ourselves in mercy, we give ourselves in worship.”
Therefore, it is absolutely essential that Paul put worship before mercy and that he define the Christian life as worshipful before he defines it as merciful. Or to put it more carefully, Paul defines the Christian life as worship so that it can be merciful.
If we are not worshiping in our behavior — that is, if we are not making much of God’s mercy in Christ in and alongside our behavior — we are not giving people what they need most. And that is not merciful. A merciful lifestyle depends on a worshipful lifestyle.
So before Paul defines Christian living as merciful, he defines it as worshipful.
So let’s look more closely at what Paul means by a lifestyle of worship. Verse 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.” What is this “spiritual worship”?
Sacrifice to God
First, Paul says it is a presenting of a sacrifice to God. “Present your bodies as a sacrifice . . . to God.” This is the language of worship from the Old Testament.
In coming to God, the worshiper brought a sheep or a bull or a pigeon and sacrificed it on the altar as an offering to God.
There were different kinds of sacrifices but at the heart of it was that sin demanded punishment, and the slain animal represented God’s willingness to accept a substitute so that the worshiper might live and have an ongoing relationship of forgiveness and joy with God.But all the Old Testament believers knew that the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4). They pointed beyond themselves to Christ, who was the final sacrifice for sin. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
” That was the final sacrifice for sin, because it was perfect and sufficient for all who believe. Most clearly of all Hebrews 10:12 says, “When Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” So Christ brought to an end the Old Testament sacrifices for sin. He finished the great work of atonement.
His death cannot be improved on. All we have to do now is trust him for that great work. We do not add to it.
So when Paul says that our worship is to present our bodies as a sacrifice he does not mean that we die and atone for our sins. Well what does he mean? Let’s take the four words he gives and see what each contributes to understanding a lifestyle of daily worship: bodies, living, holy, acceptable to God.
1. Your Bodies
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
The point here is not to present to God your bodies and not your mind or heart or spirit. He is going to say very clearly in verse two: “Be transformed in the renewal of your mind.” The point is to stress that your body counts. You belong to God soul and body, or you don’t belong to him at all. Your body matters.
Someone might think: Why would God be interested in my body? It’s overweight, or underweight, wrinkled, blotchy, achy, diseased, impulsive, nervous, unattractive, lazy, awkward, disabled, near-sighted, hard-of-hearing, stiff, and brittle. What kind of sacrifice is that? The Old Testament demanded a flawless sheep. I don’t measure up.
That kind of thinking totally misses the point. The sacrifice of our bodies to God is not a sacrifice for sin. That is done already in the sacrifice of Christ. Which is why bodies ours are acceptable.
Peter makes this really clear in 1 Peter 2:5 where he says something similar to Romans 12:1: “Offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” — then he adds these words: through Jesus Christ.
It’s because of Jesus that our sacrifices to God are acceptable.
So put your mind any thought that your body will ever deserve acceptance with God. It won’t. If you are acceptable, it is “through Jesus Christ.” Through his perfection, not your perfection.
But that kind of thinking misses the point in another way: The offering of our bodies is not the offering of our bodily looks, but our bodily behavior. In the Bible, the body is not significant because of the way it looks, but because of the way it acts. The body is given to us to make visible the beauty of Christ.
And Christ, at the hour of his greatest beauty, was repulsive to look at. Isaiah 53:2–3 describes him: “He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” The beauty of Christ is the beauty of love, not the beauty of looks.
His beauty was the beauty of sacrifice, not skin.
“The body is given to us to make visible the beauty of Christ.” God doesn’t demand our bodies because he wants models for Mademoiselle or Planet Muscle. He demands our bodies because he wants models of mercy.
I think we should pray that God’s perspective on our bodies become imbedded deep in our sons and daughters — and in ourselves — as one very powerful antidote to the kinds of eating disorders that plague so many young women, and even now some men today. What God wants from us is a body that does mercy, not the body of Britney Spears or Mr. World.
God wants visible, lived-out, bodily evidence that our lives are built on his mercy.
Just as worshipers in the Old Testament denied themselves some earthly treasure (a sheep, a goat, a bull), and carried their sacrifices to the altar of blood and fire, so we deny ourselves some earthly treasure or ease or comfort, and carry ourselves — our bodies — for Christ’s sake to the places and the relationships and the crises in this world where mercy is needed. It may be your own home, or it may be Senegal.
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
A life of visible, lived-out, physical actions of mercy might result in the death of a believer. There have always been martyrs. But that is not mainly what Paul has in mind here. Here he has in mind a lifestyle. Present your bodies a living sacrifice. It is your living that is the act of worship.
Let every act of your body in living be an act of worship. That is, let every act of your living body be a demonstration that God is your treasure. Let every act of your living body show that Christ is more precious to you than anything else. Let every act of your living body be a death to all that dishonors Christ.
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”
Probably the best explanation of holy bodies comes from Romans 6:13, where Paul said almost the very same thing he says here, using the very language of “presenting” our bodies to God — only he refers to our bodily “members” and not just our bodies. “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life [i.e., a living sacrifice], and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
“Present a living holy body to God” means give your members — your eyes, your tongue, your hands and feet — give your body to do righteousness, not sin. That’s what would make a body holy.
A body is holy not because of what it looks , or what shape it’s in, but because of what it does.
Is it the physical “instrument” of a hunger for righteousness? Is it the physical instrument of meekness and mercy and peace?
“The aim of showing mercy is showing God.”
Here are three examples where the body being used as an instrument of righteousness and mercy is called a “sacrifice.
” In Philippians 4:18, Paul says, I “have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
” Your work and giving and Epaphroditus’s bringing this gift to me is a sacrifice of worship to God. It shows God’s worth in your heart.
Hebrews 13:15: “Through [Christ] then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” When the lips join the heart in praise to God, the body becomes a holy, living sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:16: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” When you do good, in Jesus’s name, with your mouth or your hands or your presence, your body becomes a holy, living sacrifice of worship. A body becomes a holy sacrifice of worship when it is devoted to God’s purposes of righteousness and mercy.
4. Acceptable to God
Does this add anything to the word “holy”? If the sacrifice of our bodily life is holy, then it is acceptable to God. So what do these words add? They add God. They make God explicit.
They remind us that the reason holiness matters is because of God.
They remind us that all of these words are describing an act of worship — “which is your spiritual worship” — and God is the center of worship.
So it’s fitting that we end where we began and stress that before Romans 12 is a call to live a merciful life, it is a call to live a worshipful life.Or better: In calling us to live a merciful life (built on the mercy of God in Christ), the aim is that it be a worshipful life. The aim of showing mercy is showing God. The aim of having bodies is to make the glory of God more visible.
And he does not shine through our muscles and curves, but through our merciful behavior.
You Are Not Your Own
I close with two statements from the apostle Paul. First, his own testimony of desire: “It is my eager expectation and hope that . . . Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Second, his exhortation to us from 1 Corinthians 6:19–20: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
In other words, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Show the worth of Christ by the way you use your body.