Can a life be lived for God
Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day
1 So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. 2 Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (TEV)
This has been a favorite verse of mine since Bible College. A call to live a life that is dedicated to God, and to His work.
Most people who study to serve as pastors, missionaries, Christian teachers and a great deal many find this verse resounds with them. O to live in such a way! O to give up everything. We think we might, just might be the next Bonhoeffer, or the next Mother Theresa, or maybe the next Luther – calling people to fix what is wrong with the church! Or the next St Francis, who ushers in a time of peace and contemplation.
Then we begin to serve… and the realization hits us. Sacrifice isn’t glamorous – it is often downright boring. The crowds don’t come in masses (or come to mass/worship often) and it seems like forever between points where we can rejoice and be in awe of God’s work in and around us.
We also struggle with temptation and sin, and often joke that the problem with being a living sacrifice is that we can get off the altar. Some of us become cynical or sarcastic ( or at least let that part of the “old Adam” come back alive) I find that especially hard – as I think about the way I see the church here on the field, and the politics of the church at home causing them not to have the emotional, spiritual they need, or hearing how they have to go back to do fundraising, interrupting their work here.
I would long for our service, our sacrifice, to be as easy as Josemaria Escriva wrote:
“Each and every creature, each and every event of this life, without exception, must be steps which take you to God, which move you to know him and love him, to give him thanks, and to strive to make everyone else know and love him.” (1)
This is what – in our nobler moments we long for – to make every moment part of our journey toward, and with God. Lord would You be so merciful as to let our nobler instincts come into existence! Yet we find ourselves, falling so short!
That is where the second verse in Romans comes into play – we do not transform ourselves – God changes us, almost imperceptibly, primarily because He does use each and every creature, each and every event, to draw us closer to Him. Paul describes this to the church in Corinth with words that are also so dear to my heart.
18 All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (TEV)
Josemaria’s “must be steps” is true, but it is not our strength or wisdom, or even our desire that makes it so. It is His work, the Spirit’s dynamic transformation that comes to us, even as we are helpless babes being baptized, or even the octogenarian, know realizing how much God has been calling them, courting them.
Spiritual Disciplines then, aren’t so much about our molding our hearts and minds and actions into an awesome tool for God. It is far more simply looking to Jesus, dwelling in His love, realizing more than ever, how much He is present, that the incredible words that we say, over and over each Sunday – still ring true…. and because of that your life is not just lived for God, it is lived with Him.
The Lord is with you!
(1)Escrivaa, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 2507-2509). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.