The following passage is one of my favourite pieces of scripture, it's challenges me every time I read it.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a holy and living sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
We are appealed to, asked, implored, to offer ourselves as a Living sacrifice. To me, that sounds pretty grim.
A sacrifice usually involves; blood, suffering and pain. But, we don't have to die.
We are to be a living sacrifice, Living is to be; dynamic, positive, full of life. Not dormant, distant or dead.
The reason for this sacrifice, is to give up our own life so a better one can be lived.
Making the definite decision that God has better ideas for our life than we do, and choosing, not just once, but each day to do what He wants of us. Giving up ourselves.
We become an offering, which does mean that we probably have to give up certain things as we become wholly committed to a purpose not our own. That's what this sacrifice is about, committing to a purpose not our own.
That involves a big sacrifice.
This means we've got to give up the thoughts that we know best. We have to do as we are told!
I don't think that sits very well with most of us. Every since we were young children we have strived for more and more independence. Yet here we are, reading the Bible and discovering that actually, that hard fought for independence needs to be given up!
Not to just any cause though, but to the One, the One who created you, the One who Himself gave his life up for you. He did it out of perfect love. Surely He deserves our all?
The point of this sacrifice is to offer up - voluntarily, without coercion, the life we would choose to lead in order to live the life God wants us to lead. This sacrifice is not about laying life down, but having life in its fullness. To choose to put God first, not ourselves.
It's not about living less but living more, it's not about giving up but living up.