And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Romans 12:1
What do you think of when you hear the word surrender? For me, it takes me back to my childhood and growing up with my older brother. He was six years older than me, athletic, and on the high school varsity wrestling team. He often would take me down in the middle of our living room, forcing me to surrender. I hated surrendering to him and would fight with everything in my being not to be overpowered, but almost every time, his strength and will won the battle.
A key principle of being filled with the Holy Spirit is that you have to surrender to His will. For many of us, surrendering is not easy. We like to be in control, and we don't enjoy raising the white flag. We like to wrestle with God, thinking that we will win, only to be outmatched by His power and strength. God wants us to surrender because He knows that our life will go far better when we follow His lead. Paul the apostle knew this well and encouraged the church in Rome to offer their bodies as living sacrifices. Usually, when we think of sacrificing, especially in the Bible, we think of dead things. We think of animals that had to die so they could be put on an altar, but here Paul adds the word "living" to sacrifice. This is important because Paul is working hard to communicate that we have to surrender our will to God's will each day. This act of surrender is a way to worship Him. God receives the glory not when we are going our own way, but when we are allowing the Holy Spirit access into all of our lives.
How do you become a living sacrifice? It starts every morning when you wake up. Start your day by saying, "God, today I want Your will to be done!" Surrender to His will and ask Him to lead you throughout the day. For many of us, it might be helpful to use the prayer that we shared this last weekend, “God take me where You want me to go, let me meet who You want me to meet, tell me what You want me to say, and keep me out of Your way.” Our hope is that you would choose today to quit fighting with God and instead embrace a heart of worship.
Every day you will naturally be pulled toward doing things on your own. To stay focused on the Holy Spirit, we would encourage you to pray short prayers all day long. No need to make these prayers flowery or churchy, but instead, offer up quick prayers that allow you to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s lead. These can be prayers of repentance, “God, I shouldn’t have said or done that. Forgive me,” to “God, I am going into this meeting. Help me to represent You," or "God, thank You for giving me the opportunity I have." Try starting your day with God and yielding to Him. Pray these short prayers, and then when you end the day, come back and journal about how it went. Our hope is that as you surrender to His will, that God is honored through your life.
Read Romans 12:1-13 (NLT)
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
©2022 Sagebrush Church