It is funny – I have discovered as have many other teachers that often the one preparing the message gets more out of it than those who listen to it as it has lived in our hearts and minds for longing than those listening to us. This was the case last night – I was sharing a wrap of Romans 12 after 6 weeks of the church doing the R12 series. You can hear the full message here , but here is a snippet that spoke to my heart most.
Romans 12:1-21 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.
What Paul is asking of us here is hard – to willingly sacrifice your life – to give it over to God. Sacrifice is not easy and to be a willing sacrifice is hard. They have a saying that the problem with living sacrifices – they keep crawling off the altar. To sacrifice our lives to God is to hand back our lives to Him and to say God take every part of my life and do with it what you will – something that is easy to say, but hard to do in reality.
- To grow give your life to God
Elisabeth Elliot said: ‘To be a follower of the Crucified Christ means, sooner or later, a personal encounter with the cross. And the cross always entails loss.
Jesus made it clear that to follow him would be costly:
Luke 9:23-24 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
But Paul also tells us that it is a matter of perspective – what we gain by giving up is so much greater:
Philippians 3:7-8 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…
I gave out little cards with John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. On this card I also taped some seeds. The seed is to remind us that there can be no growth without death and sacrifice. We can choose to remain a seed, to stay safe in our spiritual life, or we can surrender to God and Grow. Do you choose to grow and mature into a person is who bears fruit and gives glory to God or do you choose to stay a safe little seed?