Living Sacrifices

Here we are at the start of a new year and so it begins. All those catchy sayings that make people feel empowered, “Be true to yourself.” “Speak your truth.” “Follow your heart.” I read a social media post a few days ago that stated, when making a choice, “ask your heart for guidance.”

Let’s be very clear. This is the deception of the enemy. The word clearly says that our hearts are deceitful and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9). Do not follow your heart! Follow Jesus! There is no deceit in Him. He is the perfect Lamb of God that suffered and died on the cross for our sins so that we could be free. This freedom is not to be used to gratify the desires of our flesh (Galatians 6:13). No, it is not about us “living our best life now.” By following our hearts, we may seek after things that are not of God and find ourselves facing dire consequences. It is in following Jesus that we find peace, joy and true freedom. Thank You, Lord!

Our lives are to be fully surrendered to the King of Kings. We are to be living sacrifices, wholly devoted to our loving Heavenly Father and walking in obedience to Him. The world and all its shiny things has nothing of true value to offer us.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:1-2

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-15

This world will always be full of temptations that will have the appearance of fulfilling our desires. However, we can only truly be fully satisfied in Christ. He is the Living Water, the Bread of Life and in Him we have all that we need. When we choose to follow Jesus with our entire being, to abide in Him, He sustains and strengthens us for the challenges we face. We never have to do it alone, in our own strength. We will always have His power and strength to keep us moving forward, enabling us to do whatever He has called us to do. He will provide for our every need no matter what it looks like to the natural eye or what our finite minds can comprehend. Our God has limitless power and therefore the possibilities are endless. Our job is simply to trust Him and obey.

When you grow weary because the battle seems unending and those around you appear to be prospering by living according to the world, remember that this world is not our home. We are citizens of Heaven. Those of us who are in Christ have an eternal home that has been secured for us. This life may be difficult at times but there is wonderful joy ahead!

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.  1 Peter 1:6-7

When I sometimes become weary of the difficulties I face in this life, I sit and think about all that God has brought me through. I am in complete awe of His goodness, His mercy and His faithfulness. I am in awe of the fact that the God who created the universe cares about every detail of my life. He cares about each one of us and He desires to have an intimate relationship with us.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”   

Lamentations 3:22-24 

Let us begin this new year growing closer to the Lord and trusting in His goodness and faithfulness. Everything on this earth will pass away. Do not seek after the things of this world that will not last. We have a treasure that is much greater than anything in this world. His Name is Jesus and He died for our sins! He was resurrected from the dead to give us new life in Him, life to the full (John 10:10)! Abundance is not how the world defines it. True abundance and prosperity are not found outside of abiding in Christ. Everything else is just counterfeit!   

Father God, thank you for your goodness and mercy that follow us all the days of our lives. Help us to not get distracted by the things of this world. May we always keep our eyes and hearts fixed on you. May we not store up treasures on earth where moth and vermin destroy but store treasures in Heaven, our eternal home. Thank you, Lord, for giving us all that we need. You have never failed us, and you never will.  When we grow weary, as we sometimes will, give us renewed strength to walk out this life by faith fully trusting and obeying you! We give you all the Glory! In the Powerful Name of Jesus, the Name above all Names, Amen and Amen!

By Lanette Black

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