[Part II of Romans 12:1]
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
You and I are created spiritual beings; dwelling in physical bodies; bound by an earthly existence of time and space. As a result of this spiritual/physical state of being, we have been given the capacity to experience (emotionally and physically) a vast spectrum of feelings.
1. a feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.
1. to have a strong desire or craving for.
*syn: desire, crave, covet; more
Upon our entry into this world, ‘hunger‘ is probably one of the first feelings we are conscious of. What does this feeling of hunger lead to? Most commonly, a cry; and what is the response to this cry for physical sustenance? An answer: food (*hallelujah*). Now, who is this cry directed at? To begin with, a baby doesn’t necessarily know who they’re crying-out to; however, as their days of life-experience accumulate, they recognize the face of the one who has consistently fed them, and whenever Hunger comes around again, they know who they’re looking for and who will answer their cry.
Hunger. You see it all around. In people’s eyes. In their actions. Every where you look. You feel it within your own soul and body. We have briefly looked at a physical aspect of hunger – the desire and need for food; but, as human beings, we also experience spiritual hunger. We are born with spiritual hunger the same as we are born with physical hunger. Our stomach’s hunger is for food, while our soul’s hunger is for relationship with our Maker.
Whether from legitimate physical hunger, or they’re just plain bored, babies/small children can very often be found sticking objects, along with their own fingers and toes, into their mouths. Will those inanimate objects or even that which is part of their being, satisfy their hunger? Will their bodies and souls receive life-giving nourishment from the attempt to consume those things? No. As a child grows, he recognizes that those are not the answer to his quest for food (doesn’t necessarily mean he stops sticking non-edible objects into his mouth!).
We all are familiar with that behavior in little ones; but, do you realize that you and I, as adults, are doing a similar object-hand-to-mouth routine? We still crave something that will satiate and fill the innate hunger in our souls; but, instead of crying-out to the One Who is able to satisfy our hunger, we are looking to that which belongs to this world to fill us. The Believer and un-believer alike are attempting to quench a spiritual hunger through physical pleasure. Entertainment of all varieties, dangerously accessible to us on a daily basis – “So much will men pay to forget that they are a temple without a God …” a.w. tozer – yet, nothing we touch, taste or try will ever satisfy our need for Christ. These counterfeit gods of entertainment, wealth, food and desire for earthly success that we run to may gratify or staunch the hunger, at best; ultimately, the only thing they can promise though is death. Death for your physical body and death in your relationships.
“But I can’t stop!” comes our response, that doubles as the justification and a cry for help. And it’s true. The world, our flesh and the devil have it in for us from day one and you and I are powerless to withstand their attacks (on our own). Even as Believers, we are not exempt from feeling the very real and ravenous appetites of our flesh; nor do we suddenly become immune to the temptations and snares of the devil. That’s why Paul is beseeching us, urging, pleading with us to present our bodies, as a living sacrifice, to the Lord! And it is by Christ’s atoning blood that our sacrifice is made holy and acceptable. I love how the Amplified Bible says it, that this is our “rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship” – rational, logical and intelligent – Stop trying to swallow your fingers and toes, the blocks and the teddy bears, they’re not the answer, they’re choking you! “But I have this need“, yes, you do… bring it to the One Who can fill it. “I can’t say no” … He can. Abandon yourself to Him and you will find abundant Life.
This sacrifice is not a one-time deal … it is a daily, and even moment-by-moment offering to the Lord. [Moses, addressing the Israelites, speaking of the Lord’s commands, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlet on your forehead. You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:7-9] You know, those Israelites aren’t the only ones who have a problem remembering things – you and I are right in there with them! As a present-day frontlet/doorpost tactic to counter our forgetful propensities, here is something that you and I can do as a daily practical reminder:
-Get some 3 x 5 index cards and write out verses and statements on them, reminding you Who’s you are
-Carry those cards with you throughout the day; put them on your mirror when you’re getting ready; stick them above your sink while you’re washing dishes; put it on your music stand during your music practice; have them face-up right next to your textbook as you’re studying; tape them to the ceiling (or bunk-bed) above your head; carrying them in your purse or pocket and read it in line at the grocery store … whether “in or out of the way“, read them and remember!
Here are a few statements if you need a place to start (but be sure to search the Scriptures for yourself and talk to God about it!) :
-“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matt. 5:6
-“12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” I Cor 6:12-20
-“4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we aretaking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” II Cor 10:4-5
-“My life is not my own.”
-“I’m not made for here.”
-“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world.”
Look-up the difference between the words ‘satisfy‘ and ‘gratify‘.
May you be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus!