November 11, 2020
Thank you for your commitment to pray for much-needed revival and for our prodigals. This venture takes commitment and sacrifice, which springs from surrender. “There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender” (Oswald Chambers).
Today, November 11, is a special day because we stop to remember the sacrifice of men and women in the past who willingly gave themselves for a greater cause. The reasons vary, but generally, it was for peace, for freedom, and for good in our world. In this eleventh month, on this eleventh day, at the eleventh hour, we take a minute to silently reflect with thankful hearts on those who gave their lives for such a worthy cause.
In Romans, Paul calls upon each of us to surrender our lives to a worthy God: “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” (Rom. 12:1).
Since hearing of the death of their son, Nick, I have been praying for the Challies family. Although I didn’t know Nick, according to the words of his father, Tim, he was surrendered to His God. This is what he said:
God called my son Nick to run only a short race. Some get 80 years. Some get 90. Nick got only 20. But he ran his short race well. There was so much about Nick that made me proud. But nothing more than this: he finished well. As he finished his race he was doing what he loved with the people he loved. Nick was not a young man of extraordinary gifting. He didn’t possess an extraordinary intellect. In those innate ways, he was as ordinary as his parents. But where he was extraordinary was in his commitment, especially his commitment to obedience and duty...decisions he made day by day. He was determined that if God had called him to be something, he would be it. If God had called him to do something, he would do it. He would do it full-out. He would do it with a smile. He would do it to God’s glory.
The appeal that Paul makes in Romans twelve is to present or yield our bodies to God. One of the aspects of this word “present” according to Thayer’s Greek Definitions, is “to place a person or thing at one’s disposal.” This happened when we first trusted in Christ and needs to be our waking resolve every day of our lives.
How do we do this? We surrender our bodies (our members, our hands, feet, mouth, mind, heart, soul, our whole being) as a living sacrifice to our God. In the Old Testament times, sacrifices that were offered on the altar were slain. Animals who had no say in what was happening. They were dead sacrifices. Our privilege is to live lives that are holy and acceptable to God through daily, living sacrifice.
This happens when we do all that we are doing for the glory of God. It happens when we take time to pray. It happens when we show kindness to other believers. It happens when we lift a discouraged sister or brother who is falling under the weight of life’s circumstances. It happens when we focus our attention on our family, and give them our time and energy. It happens when we try new endeavors outside our comfort zone that promote kingdom values. It happens when we speak the truth with the right motives and in a gentle manner. It happens in a million small, yet significant ways, ways that bring a smile to the face of God!
Paul says that this type of lifestyle is our spiritual worship. The NLT brings it out nicely: “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
As we allow the reality of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf to fill our hearts, it will help us in our surrender to Him today. The way we live is not to pay back to God, for we could never do this, but it is a life of gratitude and worship to One who truly deserves all of us!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel