Pursuing New Life in Christ {Romans}

The Most Humbling Worship Offering {Romans 12:1}

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 (Romans 12:1, ESV).

We are urged by God to give Him our bodies – as a living sacrifice. God wants all of us, as we are today. He doesn’t want us to hold off – until our bodies or souls have made it closer to a version of perfection. God wants us, as we truly are.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as though my body is worthy enough to be a sacrifice, or worship tool, for my great God. I feel so far from where I could be, in terms of my physical body, sensitive and overwhelmed soul, and yes even in my relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I want for God to be given more of me. As I enter this new season of life, I have to remember God wants me as I am. Though unworthy, He accepts me. . . and invites me to come to Him as I am. I can lay down the mask of this false self, where I pretend to be more fine or spiritual than I am. I can lay down the expectations I can never meet.

Because Jesus Christ invites me to come, and boldly come to His glorious throne as Hebrews 4:16 teaches us, I can walk in fellowship with my Wonderful Savior and Prince of Peace. What makes the difference? It is in the assurance that Jesus Christ has purposefully chosen to have a relationship of constant communion with me, that I can freely offer my body as a living sacrifice.

While I may not have much to give, I can make the deliberate choice to give what I do have – to Jesus Christ.

This is about spiritual worship. This is not about seeing my offering as “too little.” Rather, it is about coming to Jesus with whatever I have to offer.

Jesus Christ is the King of all Kings, the Name above all names, and He has chosen to make my body His dwelling place. He has made the deliberate choice to love me, even when I am most unlovable.

He has chosen to make His presence known, even in the midst of physical hardships beyond my control.

Jesus Christ has chosen to love us. Even when we were once His enemies, He came to reconcile us with the Father. While our relationship with our heavenly Father was once shatter “beyond repair” (if left up to us, mere humans), Jesus Christ brought us into this glorious place of restoration through His suffering, death, and resurrection.

God is all powerful. He is the only One who can take our broken pieces, and make us whole.

This is what He is choosing to do, as He invites us to give Him the broken pieces of our lives, and turn them into a complete spiritual worship tool.

. . . We may not have much to offer, but how willing are we to give God what we do have to offer?

Featured image by Yolanda Leyva.


Chronic Illness

Enjoy the Hard Times

One thing about having a chronic illness is the fear that the good day (or moment) of little to no symptoms will soon end. I mean after all, good things must end at some point… Right? My nemesis is generalized weakness. I get weak. I mean I literally just have to stand, and symptoms come on.

I have a new friend today. It “came” to the rescue. G2 (low calorie/sugar Gatorade) is my new friend. God totally provided for me today! It is wonderful. It’s amazing how much better the human body can feel when it is properly hydrated and given sodium and potassium.

It is just wonderful.

While in my down time, I was trying to just focus on the fact that God has compassion on the weak. The Bible has much to say to us, no matter what we are facing.

We have to hold onto the hope we have in Christ Jesus. We have to hold onto Him. He knows what we will be facing later today, tomorrow, and 20 years from now (if we are still roaming the earth). The fear of becoming weak again is very real! I know I am not the only one who battles it. But, I guess all we can do is: prepare for the bad days, enjoy the good, and celebrate wherever God has placed us. In the book of James, we are taught to enjoy the trials we face.

Did James actually use the word “enjoy”? Not exactly, he told us to consider it pure joy. We should refer to our suffering with pure joy. That can be very difficult in the midst of a trial… But, we need to celebrate that God is doing something wonderful in the midst of the pain and suffering that we are facing. The suffering is all we can see, but there is so much more going on. God will give us the wisdom during the hard times, just as He will the good times. The question is: Are we seeking His wisdom?

When I had my bout of bad weakness today, my focus wasn’t on the Scriptures. When I get symptomatic, that’s not exactly where my focus goes. My focus tends to go on what I am facing. By the grace of God when I crawled into bed during this weakness episode, I went to His Word. I listened to James 1 on my ipod. If nothing else was accomplished today, that is big. To put myself in a position to hear the Word of God. It is one of the best decisions I could have made in a time of struggle between my flesh and spirit.

During hard times, how do we enjoy what God is teaching us? For me, I know I need to be more inviting to seek God during those hard times and trust that He is working everything out- even when I don’t see it. Clinging to Him, because that is when I need Him the most!