“You know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective.” This is what Anton Ego says to his waiter in the well known Disney movie, “Ratatouille.” It is one of my favorite quotes from a movie, and, strangely enough, God brought it to my mind again this week. I read another quote on the ever popular social media network, facebook. David Livingstone said, “If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” This created a storm of thought in my mind. My husband, Jason, frequently preaches about the self centered way in which we view scripture. We don’t approach God’s Word, usually, wishing for it to bring our sin to the forefront, break our hearts, and change our comfortable, complacent lives. We pick it up, brush the dust off, and crack it open with the intention of finding an answer to the current problem in our life. Christianity has become synonymous to Santa Claus. “God, give us what we want whether we’re good or bad.” I find myself, sincerely, craving perspective.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” These words that Paul wrote where inspired by God and intended for the church at Rome. Though these verses are often individualized (and it certainly has application in that regard), they were meant for a body of believers; the body of Christ. Our old habits of reading the Bible and asking, “What does this say about me,” are at work. This Word is meant for us, but in the sense that it is not about us. Shocking, I know. God is using Paul to draw the focus to being unified. We are to present our individual “bodies” as one “sacrifice.” Together, as the bride of Christ, we are to be spotless (Revelation 19:7b-8); “holy and pleasing to God.” This drastically contrasts the mindset of today where people believe their sin is just their sin, and no one has the right to say anything about it. That point of view is not acceptable in light of this passage. We are connected if we are truly God’s children. That is why scripture uses the symbolism of the human anatomy (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). We are individual parts of one working body.
The word “sacrifice” has been grossly misconstrued as well. In our culture, a sacrifice is something that we give up; almost unwillingly. It is a painful loss. We apply this to Jesus and our own Christian lives. We feel “bad” that Jesus died on the cross. We feel “bad” that we are “sacrificing” by not filling our homes with stuff. That is not what scripture means! It is not a “sacrifice for Jesus” that you do not buy another electronic! Think about what the word sacrifice meant in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 12:5-8 says, “Instead, you must go to the place the Lord your God chooses from all your tribes to put His name for His dwelling. You are to bring there your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tenths and personal contributions, your vow offerings and freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. You will eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice with your household in everything you do, because the Lord your God has blessed you. You are not to do as we are doing here today; everyone is doing whatever seems right in his own eyes.” We are God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). If we are truly saved, He owns us. Don’t let that scare you because there is a bad connotation of slavery in our culture. Christ is a good and just master. We are to bring Him an offering. A sacrifice, or offering, is something we give God out of adoration. It is a way to show Him that He has the supreme rule over our lives. It is an overflow of our obedience. We do not lose anything, but, instead, we gain! We lose when we do “whatever seems right” in our own eyes. We are not to be “conformed to this age.” We should look different from the world! Christ’s death is our life!
God tells us through Paul that when we do this, when we are a unified body of believers living as Christ commands, it is our spiritual worship. Some translations say, “reasonable service.” The BDAG (a Greek-English Lexicon) says the Greek here means “being carefully thought through, which is in a dedicated spiritual sense.” Strong’s concordance uses the word “rational.” Our Christian life shouldn’t be second nature, but our first. It is common sense. Living in accordance with God’s will as the body of Christ is reasonable! We, however, do not give following Christ much “careful thought.” If anything, our devotion to Him is an after thought. The result is not a sweet smelling sacrifice offered to God, but a stench from a life lived haphazardly, worshipping idols as we please.
We are to be “transformed.” We are to be “renewing our minds” through the study and meditation of the scripture and fervent prayer to God. It is only if we are seeking God that we will know His “perfect will.” Our pastor at Dripping Spring Baptist Church, Bro. Jeff Noffsinger, used to say that there is God’s permissive will and God’s perfect will. God may permit you to do something, but it wasn’t His perfect plan for your life. I want to live in God’s perfect will. I do not want Him to allow me to do something that isn’t His purpose. In the hustle and bustle of Christmas time, when we live in a materialistic world, when there are starving children, when human trafficking and slave labor are rampant, as I am a wife, mother, and child of God, I am seeking His perspective for my life. I need His perspective for my life! There is something more important than me in this world. That something is Christ. When I live for Him, it is my honor. When I don’t, it is my shame. I hope that as Christmas approaches, you will be bold enough to evaluate your own life. Only you and God can do that. Be warned, He will tell you. As I am craving perspective, He is imploding my life; showing me things about the choices I make, things I buy, and what I do with my time. I pray that we will all seek Him. Blessings!