“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship.”
Abba, Father, why should I need to be urged to offer myself to you as a living sacrifice? In view of your mercy, why should I not be compelled to worship you with the totality of my being, in every moment and circumstance? As Jeremiah says, your mercies are new every morning—even in the face of the most terrible suffering and brokenness. Maybe even especially in the face of suffering and brokenness.
Someone has said that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it is always trying to get off of the altar. I suppose that is true. It is so hard to follow your ways. Humility. Repentance. Faith. Suffering. Trials. Ridicule. Peer pressure. It wasn’t even easy for you, Jesus. When faced with the physical, emotional and spiritual pain required by the cross, you asked if there was another way. But in the face of the calling to sacrifice yourself, you delighted in the will of the Father and gave yourself without regret to the hardest of all obediences.
And there I discover your mercy.
Whatever trial I am called to face, it will never have to be the ultimate trial. And so even as I share in your sufferings, I am not contributing to your sufferings. Every tear and wave of grief reminds me of the tribulation you endured on my behalf, reconciling an unloving sinner to a loving God.
In view of that mercy, and the multifaceted mercies that surround my life every day, I do want to offer myself to you. Asking that you would fill me with your presence and power so that a weak and broken vessel like me might be a living testimony to your greatness and grace. I want to give you my eyes, that what I view will please you. I long for a will that desires to be in accord with your will, and your heart. And how I want the eyes of Jesus! To see even as you see.
I want to possess the gift of listening to others in a way that I enter into their story and am able to lead them to their heart’s true desire, which is to know and experience you. But not only the eyes and ears, I long for the mouth of Jesus so that I would speak words of life, compassion, truth and grace. Speaking not in a way that boasts in myself, but one that leads people to the same cross where I have found my life.
Oh, how I want the hands of Jesus. Hands that fulfill my vocation in a way that is done unto the Lord, and not merely unto man. Whether people see it or not, whether they praise it or not, may I give my work to you, since as an act of grace, you have given it to me.
Yet I confess that offering my life to you in these ways does not come naturally. This will require the supernatural work of your Spirit, to keep me on the altar when my flesh so desperately wants to escape. Let me find joy in submission and obedience, knowing that it is not only good for me, but pleases you. Let me then experience a life of worship. A life of honoring the God who gave life to the dead and hope to the hopeless. This is the life of grace I crave, living in view of your mercy.