What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? I delve deeper, scratch some notes in my commitment booklet.
My thoughts immediately rush to that scene in Genesis...Abraham taking the son long awaited - the son of promise - up that hill, bearing the weight of God's command. In faith he assured the child of God's provision and goodness. How do you praise and proclaim His goodness when He is requiring your very flesh and bones?
I remember a verse I've been meditating on for several days in my Bible reading plan.
John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."
~John 3:27 (ESV)
The man who ate locusts and honey recognized our depravity, our complete and utter lack of anything of substance. Abraham knew it, too. He knew the pain of the enormously hard task, but also the grace and peace in the moments of quiet obedience. They are God's gifts to us.
My own inadequacy presses down hard on me. The life I've been asked to sacrifice has died hard and cruel, the moments of quiet obedience too few and far between. I have plodded up the hill begging God for any other way to teach this lesson, waiting for Him to provide another sacrifice. But here I am, bound by His protection, His love, and His sovereignty.
Did Isaac chafe against the ropes his father wrapped around him to bind him to the altar? Did he fight until the ropes burned into his wrists and ankles?
I see the marks of my own fighting against this life on the altar, the wounds of one who lacks faith. They are still tender. I pray that His grace will pour over them as a soothing salve, bringing peace and healing. Life on the altar is not comfortable, but it is the truest place of worship I know.
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 (ESV)