My church urged its members to consider a word that will mark their year. A word that they choose under careful consideration and prayer that will shape how they use their time, energy, and resources. Its kind of like the lens that their year will be viewed through.
As I was listening to the Pastor share the vision, I started writing some words down.
All of these words were good so I decided to evaluate them from there. I spent the next few days running them through my head, reviewing their definitions and context in Scripture. You know, doing all of the human things that I could to evaluate these words.
Sacrifice had been on my mind because I had been thinking a lot about the life I want to lead, a life of sacrifice. It was particularly fresh on my mind due to a part of a speech by President Reagan where he discusses the life of a soldier named Martin Treptow.
“America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
These words spoke directly to my heart, but I wanted to be sure. Absolutely sure.
I set the following Friday (Jan 3rd) as decision day. My mind had settled on sacrifice but I knew in my heart that the issue was not fully settled. Mid week was New Years and I talked to a friend of mine who really challenged me on my word. We discussed the concept of sacrifice as something that is not always positive in nature. Sort of like you adopt a martyr mentality. But I knew that this was not what sacrifice looked like in my mind. I knew that God had a different view, but I was conflicted. I left that night asking for clarity on what exactlysacrifice would look like for me.
So then something happened.
I stumbled on Romans 12, and it became abundantly clear that the word my mind had settled on was in fact the word God had for me.
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.
This was it. This was perfect. Viewing sacrifice as an act of worship was exactly the vision that I needed for clarity. But there is more, the rest of Romans 12 goes on to discuss humble service, sincere love, devotion to others, and giving honor to all people. This was blowing my mind due to the consistency with my stated goals for this year, namely finding a ministry to serve in, improving relationships with my family, and consciously investing in the people God places in my life.
So what does this look like day to day?
“offer your bodies as a living sacrifice”
I am thankful for this clarity and confident that 2014 will be a tremendous year.
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