What Is a Living Sacrifice?

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One of the ways that we trust God is through worship. Worship isn’t only singing or praying. Worship is, or should be, our life. We worship God when we offer him our lives. The apostle Paul writes about this in his letter to the Romans:

Romans 12:1
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 you think about what it might mean to “give your body” to God, it seems quite severe. A living sacrifice? Yikes! And yet, thinking about it further, when you fall in love with someone, don’t you want to do everything in your power to please them? You offer your all to that person and are willing to sacrifice anything, perhaps even yourself should it be necessary, for that person.

Our devotion to Jesus should be nothing less than that. Truthfully, it should be even more because our relationship with God should be our primary focus. Offering our obedience through the living sacrifice of our bodies makes sense in light of God’s amazing promises.  How can we do it? Verse 2 gives us further instruction:

Romans 12:2            
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

As Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said this past weekend, we must decide to give God complete access to our lives. As humans, God has given us the ability to choose what we worship: him or the world. When we trust him, he begins his transformation of us from the inside out. Through our obedience and trust, God changes the way we think.  Since we are truly spiritual beings first, as our thinking changes, the results are seen both mentally and physically.

I want to offer God all my life and my love. Some days I do. Some days I don’t. But I know that God isn’t done with me yet, and I am confident that he who began a good work in me “will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).

Is it difficult for you to obey God? Why or why not? Does it help to think of your obedience as an act of worship?

Next Steps:
If you have the YouVersion app, I recommend a 7-day study by Pastor Charles Stanley called “The Will of God.” In the study, Stanley says God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect (as in Romans 12:2). Trust God to be good for it. He is faithful!

21 Days Prayer:
Day 10 – Depending on him (Psalm 121:1-2)

Dear Lord, when things become difficult, I know that you will be walking beside me, holding me by my hand. You will cross the desert with me and weather any storm with me. When things become unbearable, I know that you will carry me to the other side. Today, I declare my dependence on you. Amen.

For today’s prayer focus for parents click here.

This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.

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14 replies
  1. Julie
    Julie says:

    Some people have days when they find it hard to obey God. I have seasons when I find it difficult! I spend weeks, months, and even years trying to figure out what God’s will is for me. I’ve been stuck in one place, doing everything I could to get out, but God said no. Stay. It always seems when I get done struggling, God’s will turns out to be such a blessing! God has shown his will to be perfect in every way, time and time again. God in his own way has used each struggle season to deepen my relationship with him. Father really does know best! Looking back it all makes so much sense and I am always grateful.

  2. Jeffery Ovens
    Jeffery Ovens says:

    I hear you Julie. At times I lose focus and get tangled up in this world, more specifically, my work, which I love, because it provides the opportunity to help people AND witness to them.
    When I realize where I am, I find myself just “doing”, aimlessly, what comes naturally. It is a catch 22 situation. I get confused, and wonder who am I really working for.
    If only I had this time allocated in peace and quiet with God, instead of just my morning commitment.
    I think of how we are to “pray at all times”, ALL DAY.
    Then the ” light” goes on. He is a lamp unto my feet. We are the “light” of the world, the “light” in the darkness. Not to be covered or hidden where it cannot be seen.
    Then I realize I AM worshipping the one I love, my creator, with my life, my time, and my gifts. I just don’t see it. My vision and focus are there, I always feel as if I am not doing enough, instead of accepting that this is God’s will for me. I need to stop trying to make myself who I think I should be and let God mold me into the person HE wants me to be.
    God’s got this, thank God!!

  3. Marna Ward
    Marna Ward says:

    That question today was fantastic. I’m turning that to a statement or declaration: my act of obedience is worship. Thank you Laurie

  4. Denise Files
    Denise Files says:

    Romans 12:2 I remember taking a transformation class at west campus, author of our study was Rick Warren. This scripture touch my heart and gave me the courage to go all in for God. It still brings tears to my eyes. This is really the first scripture that I memorized and won a bible that I so badly needed. Tks Ed! Glory to God!

  5. Amy Crofts
    Amy Crofts says:

    I love your vulnerability of this today Laurie! It is so true that some days we are “all in” with our worship and devotion to God and other days we distance ourselves from him thinking WE got this. Love your question you posed too! Great thought to start the day! 💛

  6. Andy
    Andy says:

    “When we trust him, he begins his transformation of us from the inside out. Through our obedience and trust, God changes the way we think.”

    This is such a powerful concept. My trust in God is such a fleeting thing. If I could choose to trust him more every day, then he’d change me more and more every day.

  7. Josh Whitlow
    Josh Whitlow says:

    I love the scripture references you used especially Philippians 1:6 which is one of my favorite verses!

  8. Rebecca Roberts
    Rebecca Roberts says:

    Thanks for bringing up this conversation. I must of needed to be reminded. I went to Passion 2020 and John Piper talked about what worship means. He said,“the Christian life is one long life of sacrifice for the sake of love.” You bringing this conversation up reminded me of what God was speaking to me at the beginning of this year!
    If anyone wants to dig deeper into the conversation listen to John Pipers talk on YouTube.

  9. Hayden Pryka
    Hayden Pryka says:

    I know for me it can be so hard to obey God everyday and worship him fully. So this is such a great reminder of what He has called us too!

  10. Nathan Campbell
    Nathan Campbell says:

    Love the question at the end. This is a great reminder for all of us that worship is not just what we do at the beginning of a service each week. We are truly worshiping God by just obeying him in EVERYTHING that we do. Thank you so much for this devotion Lauri.

  11. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    Some days it’s so easy to follow Jesus and focus on the spiritual…and other days it’s a struggle! It’s amazing how selfish we are!! Great job today, Lauri! Thank you!

  12. Devin Cooper
    Devin Cooper says:

    So often I find myself praying and asking God what His will is for my life. I’ll read His word, pray, seek the wisdom of older Godly people in my life. I’ve even attempted to fast here and there, but then I’ll go right back to doing what I (that is, my flesh) wants, acting, looking and living just like the world does.

    I guess you could say it’s easy to give God charity time, throw some money in the plate, show up for Him on the weekends. I’m even ok with bringing Him up in conversation at the bar or at work from time to time. He can have part of my life, here and there, that’s easy. But my WHOLE life? Even the secret parts of my life? A living sacrifice? That’s too much… But if I want to know what God’s will is for my life… He’s asking for my everything…

    God, help me to surrender the areas of my life I’ve held onto so tightly. Help me to trust you with all of me, and give me the strength and power to live each day for you, as a living sacrifice. In these steps of faith, reveal your will to me and guide me step by step from this moment on.

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