We are not born to live, but to die to ourselves to that we may live in eternity.
I grew up in the church and up until about 20 years old, I was living my life like I was born to live. I was living for my worldly and fleshly desires while filling up my spiritual desires on the side. As I neared the year of 2019, I began to realize that I can’t have all three, something needed to change. I thought that I could have it all and be satisfied but all the while something was missing. However, nothing was missing. No, there was excess of something. My worldly and fleshly desires were consuming my spiritual desires rather than my spiritual desires dominating them.
At Encounter this week, Foster Christy dug into Romans 12:1 which says, “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.” (ESV)
When we offer our bodies to God, we’re offering ALL that we are. Not 51%, not 99%, but 100%. Offering all 100% of what we are can seem overwhelming. Sometimes we have so many things that we are struggling with that we don’t know where to start letting up. Foster encouraged us to choose a starting point. When we feel overwhelmed by the number of things that we’re struggling to surrender to God, choose a starting point and focusing on that one thing, then move to the next until your all is surrendered.
If we then offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, we are denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily. Not weekly, not monthly, but daily. Jesus tells his disciples in Luke 9:23 to take up their own cross and follow him, leaving everything else behind. Not running home and grabbing something, not making Jesus “wait just a second” but picking up right then and there and following. Seeing a pattern yet? When Jesus died on the cross, He presented a willingness to surrender His own will to God’s will. He didn’t ask God to give him another day or a less excruciating death. He surrendered His all, knowing God’s plan was greater that his. Jesus is the ultimate picture of what it means to fully submit to God’s plan.
When we desire to die to ourselves and be made whole in Christ, we begin to see holiness come alive. The definition of Holy is “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness”. When we want God to be seen through the way we speak, act, or love we begin to be consumed by the Holy Spirit. This is where I struggled a lot in my latter high school and early college years. I was going to church, youth group, bible studies, speaking kindly (most of the time) and loving people (to an extent) but my actions outside of that were not matching up. I was talking the talk, but I was not walking the walk. Once I let God infiltrate my speech, action, and love in all of their entirety, God began being seen by othersthrough me in more ways that I could tell you. When I let God consume me and dominate my worldly and fleshly desires I began to feel set apart because I was living for God’s purposes, not my own.
God’s will for our lives surpass all. Thanks to His mercy we have graciously been saved from the pits of hell and all the other misfortune we deserve. We all have done things that we aren’t proud of and have made plenty of mistakes. Hebrews 2:1 tells us to pay attention to the good news of Christ because it’s so easy to stray. The world presents many flashy, desirable aspects of things to us on a daily basis. It’s easy for our eyes and minds to stray but the good things take time and are not easy.They take disciple and accountability. It isn’t easy to come to God and admit our wrongs and it isn’t easy to be the severalpeople who stood up in front of a room full of their peers on Wednesday night proclaiming that they wanted to be consumed by our Heavenly Father.
We are beloved children of God who are desired and wanted. The things of world weigh heavy but Christ desires to carry them for us (1 Peter 5:7). He wants our all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. What’s one area of your life that you can begin surrendering to God? What do you need to do to obey? Are you willing? Are you ready? Let God, through the Holy Spirit, consume you.