Transformation: (1) Requires personal sacrifice. It’s not easy, natural or automatic. It calls for becoming a “living sacrifice.” The problem with “living” sacrifices is their tendency to keep escaping the altar, having to be led back repeatedly to be sacrificed again and again. Salvation is an instant, once-for-all experience, but there can be no instant, once-for-all “living sacrifice.” It’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment recommitment, that means bringing our stubborn nature back to the altar, surrendering it to God as often as necessary. Don’t wait for your old nature to improve, or to agree to die before concluding your sacrifice is truly genuine. And don’t let it discourage you in your battle for victory; your old nature and your regenerated spirit are mutual enemies, “constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions” (Gal 5:17 NLT). Your job isn’t to obliterate the flesh but to crucify it each time it wants to take over, refusing to let it curtail or cripple your commitment to spiritual growth. (2) Is a two-sided issue. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Ro 12:1 NIV). That involves a resolute decision of mind and will, because our bodies don’t surrender themselves. Until you deliberately choose to “offer your [body]…to God,” your flesh will act unrestrained. “Just as you…offer the parts of your body in slavery…to ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness” (Ro 6:19 NIV). When you surrender to your lower impulses, you reap sin. When you surrender to God, you reap His blessing.
Published on Sunday, November 20, 2011 @ 12:11 PM CDT