So, what is it? What is the thing we need to give up to recover? What does it mean to be a “living sacrifice”?
I think this is something we must ask ourselves not only as it relates to our recovery, but also continuing through our lives. “What do you want from me, God?”
Bottom line? “offer your body as a living sacrifice” is about more than just taking care of our physical bodies. Although that is a component, if we are truly giving our bodies back to God, it means that we are offering it all. There is the sacrifice. Yes, exercise and proper nutrition prepare our bodies to do the things that God has for us to do. BUT, if we are not spending our time FIRST seeking His kingdom through prayer and study, we will have no idea what that means. As I meditate over the verse, it occurs to me that God does not require my peak physical fitness at all phases of my life. He does at all times require my peak spiritual fitness though. What does that require of me? Sacrifice…giving up. My ideal weight, size, speed, endurance—is whatever is useful for God’s kingdom. No more, no less. This will change as my life changes because God always has new things for us. He is constantly calling us to renewal and transformation. The world often makes it seem like this can only come through the physical body, but God tells us that it comes through renewing our minds.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)
How does this work?
Here is an example of how God is using these verses in my life: Sometimes I sacrifice much time thinking about my physical “training plan.” When I have been injured, I have re-worked the plan making sure I get all of the different types of workouts in- strength, flexibility, cardio. Whereas a lot of the time I put into this is in an effort to keep myself from doing too much and to maintain my healthy patterns of exercise, it is still time. What if I put that much time and effort into building my family’s strength, becoming a stronger ministry leader, stretching outside my comfort zone to help others? Sometimes it is not about the right thing or the wrong thing…it is about the best thing. What is God calling me to do NOW?
There are so many ways God calls us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. That will mean different things at different times.
One thing is sure…it will require giving up and giving it all up to HIM.