March 16, 2017 - A Living Sacrifice
"I Appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Romans 12:1)
A living sacrifice, to devote our bodies as followers of the Lord, giving to him as he asks each day. Not following the world, but keeping apart from the world, living in Christ Jesus. This is the duty of all Christians each day.
Paul even lists ways in which we may be called to serve each day. "Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them; if prophesy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; The one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." (Romans 12:6-8)
So we see ways in which God may call each of us to serve him, each having his own unique qualifications, given by the grace of God, for service to God.
Let us also look at several marks that will be seen in the true Christian. I am not attempting to discredit anyone here, only to give ways we can verify if the person before us is as he says. Even when that person before us is in the mirror.
First is love, Paul says Christian love must be genuine, not for show, but from the heart. Second, Christians freely contribute, as their own situations allow, to help others in need, one cannot be selfish and do God's will.
Third, maybe the most difficult of all, bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Forth, to live in harmony with others, rejoice with those who are happy, weep with those who are saddened. Live at peace with all people if possible.
Fifth, to never be haughty, but to live with humility always, to never be wise in your own sight for the one who is wise in his own sight is foolish indeed.
Sixth, never repay evil for evil, instead be patient, give thought to what is right, do what is honorable in response to another.
Seven, leave vengeance to the Lord; "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written. "Vengeance is mine says the Lord."" (Romans 12:19)
We are told to give food and water to our enemy when he is hungry or thirsty, in doing so we cause consternation or confusion in him. The Bible says in doing so, we heap coals of fire on his head.
"Do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21)
When one comes claiming to be a Christian, look at him using these Christians attributes to verify that he is as he says.
More importantly, look at yourself using these same attributes to see if you are you think you are.
The true Christian follows closely this verse; "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." (Romans 12:12)
Each of us can become better servants of God if we look at ourselves through these eyes. Amen...
May the Lord bless you and keep you and make his face to shine upon you...