God, You Own Me

Last Saturday, it was like somebody flipped on a light. I saw myself clearly and realized that my heart was in need of change. The moment was of the Spirit, I am convinced, His presence calling me to get back in line. There have been so many other times of conviction, when the truth about a choice, an attitude, some part of me comes into clear focus.  Sometimes it is just a simple, “Yes, Lord” that gets it right. Sometimes it is a fight inside of me – between the sinful nature and the spirit.

If we want to walk with God, led by the Spirit, there is a basic requirement: we must let go of Self and let God own us!  This is, by the way, not a once and done choice. It happens daily! Paul was inspired to call us to a life aligned to God’s plans with these well-known words. “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV)

Note where we start in this surrender. It’s not with fear of a terrible Deity who is out to destroy us for our willfulness. We look at His mercy.  We remember that He for us, that we have an Intercessor who is praying for us, who has given everything required to be right with God, freely at His own expense! We do not have to beg to be right with Him, plead with Him to forgive us, or bargain for salvation. Are you feeling the sting of a guilty conscience? That’s mercy!  He loves us too much to just let us run to our own destruction.

We continue by understanding that He is interested in more than our Sunday words or our affirmation of right doctrine. “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.”  God cares about how we act. We know that food, drink, sex, pleasure, leisure are things of this temporal world and yet those things are part of how we serve Him, ways in which we delight Him by accepting His way over our own. This passage connectsbodies as living sacrifices” with “spiritual act of worship.”  If we speak words of contempt for another we make a lie of our claim to live in love. If we wallow in lust, seeing others as objects of our desire, we dishonor our call to bear the image of God in the world. If we define our value as a person by the things we own, we reveal that eternity has little hold on our heart.

“Living sacrifice” sounds like a contradiction in terms at first, doesn’t it?  Under the Jewish Law, sacrifices were killed, then laid on the altar to be consumed in an offering to God.  In the Christian covenant, Self dies, offered up to God, so that the very lives we live are a holy offering. Think about that!  As the Father looks on you today, will He find a sweet offering of words of love flowing out of a heart given to service?  Will He find sincere prayers ascending like smoke from an altar, giving Him adoration?

Yes, there is a fundamental choice – will I be shaped by the values of my sinful nature, which are formed by the world in which I live?  Or will I allow the wisdom of God to restore me to Him, producing a transformation in me?  Only when God owns my body, my mind, and my heart can I consistently live a life that is aligned to His purposeful plan.  That plan, by the way, is always ultimately “good, pleasing, and perfect” (complete and whole) for us.

I’ll be honest. There will be times when you say, “This is going to kill me!” You will feel a terrible sense of loss. You will struggle to love Him more than yourself.  There will be struggles that do not end with a single prayer or one confession. But, I can tell you this, too.  In that place of forgiveness, when we are reconciled to our Father in Christ, when the Spirit is leading us – there is a kind of peace of mind that is incomparable to anything of this world.

The word from the Word is that passage again, but this time from a contemporary paraphrase, The Message. Before you read it, pause and pray this. “Father, I want You to own me – body, soul, and spirit. I love Your mercy and thank You for your patience in making me into the person that You desire.  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—
and place it before God as an offering.
Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.
Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll
be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”  (Romans 12:1-2, The Message)


Build My Life

Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You

 Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
We live for You

Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

 I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett
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