Blog, Influencers Devotionals

The Life of Sacrifice by Bryan Craig

April 23, 2024

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. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:1-2 ESV


Do you have a life verse?  I’ve heard many people say they have one, but as I think of what mine might be, there are too many to choose from.  But if I had to narrow it down, I would say Romans 12:1-2 is at the top of the list.  I came across it recently, and strangely, it seemed to be even more powerful than I had at first thought.  Maybe you don’t know this, but God’s Word is endless and everfresh and new, full of His Spirit at every turn, so you may read a verse a hundred times, yet it may strike you differently at different seasons.

It struck me differently this time, as I’ve been thinking a lot about “dying to self” and about “consecration” of my life unto the Lord.  I’ve also continued this year, asking God for “MORE” of the Holy Spirit.  By the way, on our weekly Tuesday morning prayer calls, we begin with a 15 minute “Nugget” of inspiration from God’s Word and testimony before we pray.  These come from different participants on our call.  This year, we are asking nugget-bearers to present something pertaining to the Holy Spirit.  Let me tell you that, whereas I may have thought I knew where all the verses were on the Holy Spirit, I’ve been so blessed to discover so much more.  If you would like to join us on this special Prayer call, ALL (men and women) are welcome. It’s every Tuesday morning, 6:15-7:15 AM CST.  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

What I am learning this year is that MORE is available to all of us, BUT it comes at a sacrifice.  We can be believers in Jesus Christ, which makes us “Christians” and never go much further than that.  We can choose to be “casual Christians” who may go to church, never read God’s Word and honestly, look a lot like non-Christians.  We can also be Christians who are faithfully plugged into a church, never missing a Sunday, and also involved in a small group and who read our Daily Bible Reading every day.  We can also be Christians who want to be disciples, who lead Journey groups, and feel like we are abiding in Christ.  I’ve been all 4 types of Christians, and I realize we are all “in process” of becoming like Christ.

But as I read Romans 12:1-2 again, I see an invitation for MORE.  Paul talks about offering our bodies as a Living Sacrifice.  He says that this kind of life is Holy and Acceptable and a Worship to God.  I want to worship God with my life, not just in words, but in action.  Paul has my attention.

Then, he goes on to help us understand the pathway to this kind of life.  We have to renew our minds so they will no longer be conformed to the world.  This is why it’s  better to find and follow Christ at a younger age, so we don’t have so much re-wiring to do.  The longer we live in and for the world, the harder it is to break free from its grip.  But if we can break free, change our thinking and perspective about life, we will find the will of God, which is good, acceptable, and perfect.

I don’t know how many times I’ve asked the question or heard others ask, “How do you know the will of God?”  Well, Paul would say, “Do you really want to know?”  “Are you ready to pay the price it will take to know?”

Will we sacrifice our lives, which means offering Him everything?  Everything?...  When I think of everything, I think of my pride, my plans, my dreams, my marriage, my kids, my career, my finances, my likes and dislikes, my personality, my right to myself.  What I have found is that I may sacrifice some of these things, but I always want to hold onto some.  This is why Rocky included the statement required for true intimacy with Christ, “He Who Enters Must Do So by Personal Abandonment and Absolute Trust.”   But it sounds scary.  Will we really trust Him with everything?

This is the path, my friends.  This is the narrow door.  This is the road less traveled.  This is the soil of the heart that is rich and fertile and bears fruit one-hundred-fold.  Many spiritual leaders, writers, mystics, sages have described this journey.  Most of them talk about advancing in our spiritual walk to a point where we hit a wall.  Some call this wall the “Dark night of the soul.”  Others call it a “Critical juncture.”  They say you cannot go around the wall.  You must go through it.

My mind is going to the famous verse, where Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  This was in response to the rich young man who wanted to follow Jesus and was challenged to sell everything he had.  He would not do it.  Years ago, someone explained to me that the “eye of the needle” was a narrow opening in the walls of ancient cities that were difficult for a camel to pass through.  I’ve heard a camel had to be totally unpacked and often had to go to its knees and be pushed through the small opening. 

So, Jesus is asking us if we are willing to let go of everything that is packing our lives down, so that we can get on our knees and follow Him through the narrow gate.  This is the life of sacrifice that God blesses.  This is the place of higher understanding.  This is the consecrated life. 

For so long, I wanted to follow Jesus fully, but I kept thinking I could have all the spoils of the world AND Jesus too.  I wanted to “have my cake and eat it too”.  When this was challenged, I quickly got defensive, saying, “I’m not materialistic!”  Finally, I hit my wall, and it was as if God was saying, “Are you going keep trying to live life according to your plan?  How’s that working out for you?  Are you ready to try My plan?”  When I finally surrendered my plans, my dreams, my fears, my finances, He took me on a great adventure which I am still living, and it’s been the greatest decision of my life.