“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Romans 12:1 KJV
The first step. That significant moment when you take action towards your goal. If you want to work towards restoring a relationship, that first step might be an email or a phone call. If you’re aiming to run a marathon, it might be putting your trainers on and running that first mile.
Whatever goal you want to tackle, it always starts with a first step.
Last night, I was challenged by a mentor to clarify the motive behind my writing. Of course, like any other Christian, I want to use the gifts God has given me to build his church and to advance his kingdom.
I was reminded of the gifts listed in Romans 12. The author, Paul encourages us to do what God has stirred up in us, with all our heart. Whether it is serving, giving, encouraging, speaking, prophesying or leading, we all have something to give. And the body needs each member to function, in order to be healthy.
I need you to function in your gift and you need me to function in mine. I believe that this year I need to focus on the gift that God has given me, through my writing. And still there are times when I second guess my motives, but I am starting to come around to trusting that God knows the format, the how, the when and the where this gift needs to go.
I can also trust him with the why, because the goal is not a book. The goal is to honour him, as it says in Romans 12:1, with my reasonable service, because of the great mercy he has shown me.
What I love about Romans 12 is that there are almost steps of progression in order to function in the gifts:
- Verse 1: present yourself a living sacrifice.
- Verse 2: renew your mind.
- Verse 3: you need to have a healthy perspective about yourself, your value is measured by the faith you were given (you have THE same measure of faith as everyone else).
- Verse 4: you are part of a bigger picture – the body of Christ.
- Verse 5: you have a vital role in the body, you need to be connected.
- Then, we get to the gifts and callings…
There’s so much in there, but I really feel the Spirit saying to focus on the first step.
The goal is overwhelming, but the first step is not difficult at all. Just show up. To present yourself is to say: “Here I am, I am at your command.” Then you have to quiet yourself and listen to the command.
The metaphorical definition for “present” (Strong-Lite: G3936) is to “bring into one’s fellowship or intimacy.” The first step is intimacy, so is the next step, and the next. It is showing up in the presence of the Lord, listening to what is on His heart and obeying his instruction. It is the same step for all of the different members of the body, whatever the gift. Whatever the goal.
“…a living sacrifice…”
There’s nothing enticing about being a sacrifice. I’m much more interested in the gift and the calling bit. Sacrifice is… well, kind of a downer. Sacrificing means giving up time, comfort, perhaps certain connections, right? As I looked at this verse, I was drawn to the word “living” (Strong-Lite: G2198). What does it mean to be a LIVING sacrifice? Here are some of the meanings given in my Sword App:
- to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
- to enjoy real life
- to have true life and worthy of the name
- active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God
- living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul
- metaphorically to be in full vigour
- to be fresh, strong, efficient
- as adjective active, powerful, efficacious
Wow! Sign me up. I want some of that LIFE! Showing up to the intimate presence of the Lord will give me the ability to lay down what I think is life, for true life. Not only will I have true life, but I will be able to release true life to those in the body of Christ, who need it. This is true vitality!
Is this why Paul is so adamant about the importance of this first step?
“…by the mercies of God…”
I am encouraged that it is not just because of God’s great mercy that we are summoned to a life of intimacy with him, but it’s also by his mercy that we come into his presence.
There is no fear of judgement. There is only mercy. There is only love. There is only life to receive in his awesome presence.
Today, I hear your exhortation Paul, and I receive the invitation to present my body a living sacrifice to God. By his mercy, I will take that first step. I will listen to his heartbeat and walk in his unforced rhythm of Grace.
Today, I hear the Father calling: “Beloved. Take your place. I have prepared a place for you at my table. As you come into my presence I will let you feast on my faithfulness. As you surrender your life, I will give you true life. Life that produces life. It’s time to take that first step. Daily. Be Loved.” ❤