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.
If you’re a regular reader of Read, Mark Learn, you’ll probably know by now that I’m easily irritated by trivialities. One triviality that winds me up is the nonsensical way that sports stars, particularly football players, speak. They all seem to fall into cliché mode as soon as they open their mouths. Their talk of football being “a game of two halves” sets my blood boiling, as does their frequent statement that “at the end of the day, the best team won.” As for the claim that “when all is said and done, I gave 110 per cent, and I couldn’t give any more than that,” well, that has me shouting at my television. How can you give 110 per cent? It’s absurd!
Well, in today’s verse, Paul is telling us, members of the church of Christ, to give everything we have to serving Jesus. We can’t give 110 per cent, but we can give 100, and that’s what Paul urges us to do.
God has shown us an extraordinary amount of mercy. He loves us so much that he gave his only son to us. Jesus loves us so much that he died in our place, so that we could be reunited with God, cleansed of our sin, and made right with our heavenly father. At the most basic level, Jesus died for us. That is incredible, and surely demands a response.
The response that Paul encourages us to give is to “offer our bodies as a living sacrifice” to God. In the days of the old covenant in the Old Testament, to sacrifice something to God was to renounce your claim to the object, and to give it wholly over to God. That’s what Paul tells us to do with our bodies.
In recognition of all that God has done for us, we should renounce our claim to our own bodies. We should no longer seek self-gratification, but rather should give our whole being, body, mind and soul, to serving God. That is quite a demand to make, but if we love God, giving our lives to him will not be a hardship, but a pleasure and a joy. Serving God at times can be hard, particularly when we find ourselves facing opposition, but the knowledge that we are living for Christ, sharing the gospel, striving to love others and, above all else, loving God, far outweighs any negative aspects of living for God.
As we begin a new week, why not rededicate your life to Christ? Why not pray to God, “yes, Lord, I’m here, take my body, I offer it to your service”? As Paul says, this is your true and proper worship!