Monday, February 20, 2012

A Living Sacrifice

One of my goals for 2012 is to read through the Bible.  I have set this goal other times in the past, but never really had the discipline to follow through.  When I would get behind I would get discouraged.  I would quit and go back to doing something different with my Bible reading.  I never really liked having to read what I was "told" to read.  I follow a strict schedule every day of my life as a teacher.  Bells ring, I jump.  Bathroom breaks are scheduled, lunch is scheduled, and even prayer is scheduled!  As Fine Arts Director I sit on the admin staff.  Sometimes we all read the same book and discuss the first few minutes at each meeting.  This means that the time I would have to "leisurely" read is taken up by an assigned book.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reading good books.  I love discussing books.  I believe it is my stubborn nature that kicks in sometimes when I wish I could have picked my own book to read.  I usually end up enjoying the book and get a lot out of the discussions.  I digress. (another reason I never completed the "read through the Bible" goal in the past)

This year has been different.  My husband is doing it with me and we are keeping each other accountable.   I have been digging into the Old Testament and now find myself in Leviticus.  I have walked with the Israelites through the wilderness on their Exodus from Egypt.  I have tried to picture the radiance of the glory of God streaming from Moses' face.  I have envisioned the Tabernacle being built and readied for the presence of a Holy God.  The one thing that keeps creeping back into my mind is the thought of sacrifice.   God was very specific in His instructions for making sacrifices.  The instructions were repeated over and over again.  If one thing was out of place, the sacrifice was void.  People lost their lives after offering unclean sacrifices.  God was serious about this.  He is Holy.  In order for the sacrifices to be pleasing and acceptable to Him they had to be perfect, unblemished, and presented in specific ways.  I wonder if we would go to all that trouble today.  We don't like being inconvenienced.  I picture people trying to find ready-made sacrifices on the Internet to offer.   Click and buy.  No mess, no fuss, no blood on our hands.....all from the comfort of our couch.  

But Jesus came.  

Jesus.....the perfect sacrifice.  There will never be another.  All the pains and trouble that people went through in the Old Testament can not compare with the blood of Jesus.  We are free.  Free from the restrictions of the Law.  But what does this really mean?   "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."   We often read Romans 12:1 and wrap it up in a bow.  Our busy minds can quote that scripture.  It is short and to the point, just like we like it.  No detailed instructions, no specifics, no restrictions as to "how" we are to go about this sacrifice.  No blood on our hands.  Right?   Wrong.  
Reading on in Romans 12 gives us our instructions----the marks of a Christian----our call to duty-----our call to sacrifice.  I feel I fall very short of offering my body as a living sacrifice....one that is truly acceptable and pleasing to God.  So do we have it easier than the Israelites?  I think not.  Romans 12 is our lifelong work in progress.   It is the process of growing us into who and what God calls us to be.  

I am living, but am I truly sacrificing?   

 



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