The Spirit of a Living Sacrifice–Part One

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God…not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:1-2, 11).

In addition to a renewed, sober, hopeful, and patient mind and a loving, tender, joyous, and hope-filled heart, a holy and acceptable-to-God living sacrifice has a fer­vent spirit.

“Not lagging in diligence” clearly indicates that each member is to be a self-starter. Your intrinsic motivation (i.e., “diligence”) ought to consistently be at peak level. God’s worth­iness and Christ’s graciousness—the basis for our diligence—do not wax and wane like the moon. The threat of spiritual attack and defeat constantly remains at the highest level of alert. Therefore, being sober, vigilant, and diligent in spiritual matters is ever essential. There is never any wise or appropriate time to become a slacker. Your responsibility is to be a living sacrifice to God, not a delicious meal for Satan.

“Fervent in spirit” is the only way to prevent spiritual lethargy, laziness, and careless­ness. Zeal for God and His house was a distinctive trait of the Christ (John 2:17). Being zealous for good works is an obvious characteristic of those redeemed by the Christ (Titus 2:14). Being diligent to grow in faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love is necessary to having an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11).

“Serving the Lord” emphasizes why tireless diligence and fervent zeal are distinct qual­ities of a living sacrifice’s spirit. As a voluntary servant, you freely chose to make Christ your master. Jesus did not coerce you. He carefully spelled out His expectations and the specifica­tions of an acceptable living sacrifice and a useful bondservant. If you accepted His terms, you need to keep your word and align your spirit to His expectations: Don’t lag in diligence. Be fer­vent in spirit.

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Author: jchowning

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