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.
As Christians, when we think of the word “sacrifice,” we most likely picture Jesus dying on the cross. There’s no question this was the ultimate sacrifice predicted throughout the Old Testament, freeing us from the chains of sin and death. But as Romans 12:1 says, followers of Christ are called to make a sacrifice of their own.
In this passage, Paul declares that we are to offer our bodies as a sacrifice to God for all he has done for us. Obviously, God doesn’t want us to sacrifice our bodies in the ways of the Old Testament. No, He wants us to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. Meaning that every day, we should set aside our wants and desires to follow Him, putting all of our energy and trust in God’s ability to guide us through life’s ups, downs, and everything in between. In other words, God wants every part of our average, ordinary, everyday lives.
On the surface, this sounds simple enough. But in practice, it’s incredibly difficult especially if we try to do it under our own power. The key to living a sacrificial life can be found in the next verse of Romans.
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. (Romans 12:2)
It’s true that when we get caught up in life, it’s easy to mimic the often selfish and corrupt behaviors of the world around us. But when we genuinely seek to know God and what His Word says about our lives, then over time—even during difficult times—the Holy Spirit changes our thoughts and attitudes to be more like Christ (Ephesians 4:21–23). And when the Spirit leads us, our desires become the opposite of the temptations of the world. What once felt like sacrifice becomes a grateful act of relinquishment. We freely offer our selfish wants, lustful desires, and everyday burdens for Christ to bear on our behalf, allowing us to focus on the things in our life that are pleasing to God, leading to a life of purpose (Galatians 5:16–26).
Is this always easy for Christians? No. Do followers of Christ still allow themselves to succumb to the pressures of this world? Yes, far too often. But if we continue to keep the door open for God by intentionally pursuing and applying his Word to our lives, then when we do stumble and fall, we’re not likely to fall as far, and it’s much easier to find our way back onto the path He has laid out for us.
Have you sought to sacrifice every aspect of your life to God? If not, what do you need to give up today to grow closer to Him?
Today’s author: Mark Henderson—Founder of The Inspired Legacy
Mark is a creative professional with more than 20 years of experience in the fields of web design and advertising. e also serves as the chief content officer at The Inspired Legacy, an online ministry dedicated to shining a light on God’s gift of parenthood. The organization aims to inspire and equip fathers to boldly lead their families, love their kids unconditionally, and leave a legacy of grown children that carry on these same traditions. Mark resides in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife, Kimberly. Together, they have three children, two girls, and one boy.