I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12 has always been a special chapter for me. Mostly because it houses a few of my all time favourite verses. Here’s what I think of the first verse.
Beseech is like a pleading. Imploring. An urgent and deep request.
Mercies of God
‘By the mercies of God’. For me this is like saying ‘according to how much God has allowed you to be blessed to’ or ‘to endure’ or ‘to give’.
Here’s a typical war movie scene. A small team of good guys are being chased by an army of baddies with big guns. One of the good guys get injured and says ‘don’t bring me along, I’ll only be a burden. Leave me here. I’ll slow them down’. After the emotional scene, the good guys leave and turn the corner just in time as the bad guys turn up. They have a shoot out with this hero. But the hero gets killed. And as the baddies rush past the hero’s dead body to catch up with the good guys, the hero unclenches his fist with a grenade in his hand. It explodes and kills off even more of the baddies.
This hero is the sacrifice. He sacrificed himself. But he had to die. A death sacrifice.
A living sacrifice actually sounds like an oxymoron. Yet, I think it makes sense. Because God deserves more than just a death sacrifice. A death sacrifice is easy. You just feel for the people you leave behind – for a short moment – then it’s all gone.
A living sacrifice demands more out of us. Our life involves a lot more than our death. In life there is growth. There is learning. There are responsibilities. There are people. There’s time. There are wants and desires. There’s love. There’s abilities and skills. There’s health. There’s emotion. There are worries and fears. There are beliefs and ideas. There’s personality. There’s wealth and material things. There’s hope. Well, that’s a lot to constantly let go of.
How do we then become a living sacrifice? For me, it’s to be constantly aware of what we do. And to constantly decide to obey God. Now that is what I call difficult.
Imagine your time, your relationships, your priorities, your energy, your skills, your personality, your actions, your thoughts, all spent on someone else. It’s almost like when you have a girlfriend or a baby. Your whole life will be devoted to this person that you love. Except, for God, it’s more complete. Our whole life is required. Everything? Everything. Now that’s tough.
Then, if devoted properly, if what we decide and do is what God desires, we will be holy. Holy just means right before God’s eyes. Clean. Sin is the opposite which means wrong before God’s eyes. When we are holy, it will be acceptable to God.
In Greek, the word ‘reasonable’ is ‘logikos’. As in Rational or Logical. Being a living sacrifice is the logical thing to do. After what Jesus has done, after knowing who God is, knowing what an amazing life and path He has set us on right now, and knowing that His love for us is the reason for everything, it will be irrational and illogical to not give your whole life and being as a sacrifice to God! It will be irrational and illogical not to love God!
If you’re asking ‘So who is God?’ and ‘What kind of path did He set us on now?’, you’re asking the right question. The bible is filled to the brim with God’s character and God’s promises and God’s plan for us. And also very importantly, who we are to God. So start reading the bible now! If you need help, drop me a message or just comment below.
So these are thoughts I have when I read this verse. That’s all for now.