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2024 - Sacrifice

Ooh this is going to be a fun one. The last 3 years have been “faith”, “hope” and “trust” which are nice warm and fuzzy words that bring so much encouragement. When I hear the word “sacrifice”, there is a bit of a deep breath of apprehension that happens. As mentioned in my last blog, late October God really drew me back into His Word more, and I landed in Romans, specifically Romans 12. As I sat and journaled through and dwelt on this chapter, and then started to ask God for ‘my word’ for 2024, the word SACRIFICE really stood out to me. After a big few years, my prayers coming into this year was ongoing settled-ness - we’ve settled into our jobs, our house and our marriage and I just want a year with no big changes. So, I was hoping for a word down that track. However, sacrifice just has been on my mind and as I prayed about my word, asking God (and not me) to give it to me, sacrifice continued to flood my mind. So here we are!

 

Romans 12:1-2 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. 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.” As I think about my life right now, I am humbled by how God has redeemed and blessed my story beyond what I ever thought possible. I have an incredible husband who loves me endlessly, a beautiful family, a sweet new home, a job that I love with amazing people to work with and a great community around me. My life is so comfortable. Apart from the sacrifice of sleep to get up early to go to work and our weekly tithe, there isn’t much sacrificing going on. Not that I want to make my life harder, and I still already have normal life problems of health, stress, people, finances, etc, but as I pondered on this verse, I couldn’t really see in my life that I was presenting my body as a living sacrifice. Honestly, my life revolves around me. And that was really convicting.

 

I was thinking about the features of the body and the below list is my prayer for 2024 as I explore what sacrifice could look like this year.

- I pray for hands that keep busy with God's work, hands that lend a helping hand even when it’s inconvenient, hands that give generously knowing that all I have is a gift from God to steward

- I pray for feet that are brave enough to go to places outside my comfort zone for His glory, feet that take me closer to people rather than retreating to the safety of my own home

- I pray for a heart that genuinely cares deeply for people and puts others first, a heart that forgives quickly knowing how much I have been forgiven

- I pray for a mind that is focused on Him first and is renewed and transformed, a mind that thinks about things that are pure and lovely and good (Phil 4:8), a mind that thinks about ways to bless people, a mind that is used to do any work to the best of my ability and not just the most efficient way, a mind that is filled with His wisdom and discernment

- I pray for eyes that see the best in people, eyes that see past offence and to the hurting person behind it

- I pray for ears that are tuned to the Holy Spirit, ears that are good at actively listening to people to make them feel heard and valued

- I pray for knees that are quick to kneel in surrender to God’s plan, knees that keep me grounded in God’s truth no matter what chaos is around me

- I pray for help to take care of my body well so that I have the energy and strength to do all God has called me to

 

This list is far too hard for me to do all by myself, but I love how the very beginning of Romans 12:1 says “…by the mercies of God…” We don’t have to present our bodies as a living sacrifice for God all by ourselves. It is only through His mercy, grace, strength, and forgiveness that we can be transformed to be more like Him. And how incredible that “His mercies are new every morning” (Lam 3:20) so they never, ever run out no matter how much we mess it up.

 

1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession”. Psalm 4:3 “You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him.” 1 John 4:4-5 says “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.” All these verses point to being set apart, chosen and not like the world. If the world looked at your week - the conversations you’ve had, the things you’ve done or watched, the way you spent your time, the choices that you’ve made - would they see someone who was just like them? Or would they see someone who was standing out from the world in a way that glorifies God? I can honestly say that there are some parts of my life that I can see where Jesus is making me more like Him, and I am keeping myself set apart, but there are others where I can get caught up in conversations that are not honouring, TV shows that maybe aren’t the most moral, wasting time on entertaining distractions instead of spending time with God, others, or just doing life better, being anxious about things when God has called us to cast our cares on Him, being negative and complaining about things when God has called us to not complain about anything,… and the list of my selfishness could go on.

 

While giving up some of the things that do not honour God might be hard, and it might cause us to feel left on the outside of the current trends, the really encouraging thing about sacrifice, is that when we sacrifice something for God, we actually get something so much greater. We exchange something that’s good, for something that’s best. Whether it’s tithing - we give 10% of what we earn, and we get the joy of investing in God’s house, plus the character development of living a generous life. Whether it’s serving or volunteering - we give up our time and we get to partner with God to potentially change someone’s life. Whether we give up a dream job or dream house or dream relationship - we give up the plans that we think will make us happy for the fulfilment and lasting joy of living life in God’s will and the unexpected blessings that come our way that are so much sweeter than our original plans. Whether it’s spending time with God - we give up some sleep by getting up earlier or putting another activity to the side, and we get time with the Creator of the world and personal revelation through the Holy Spirit from His word. 

 

So while sacrifice is “giving up something valued for the sake of other considerations” (according to Google), when we live life as a living sacrifice and give up our time, our plans, our everyday moments to Him, the other considerations are always going to be much more satisfying and bring us to that “life abundant” (John 10:10) that He has called us to. I hope this encourages you, whatever your word for the year is, to remember that every day is a gift. The time we have is an opportunity to either live for ourselves and have temporal happiness, or live for Jesus and have eternal joy. He has so many great plans for our lives!



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This is sooo good! I love how you break down specifically what It means to be a living sacrifice 💖💖

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