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Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. – Romans 12:1

Do you want to really worship God? Here is how He says to do it: offer yourself as a living sacrifice.

To people familiar with daily sacrifices of animals, this must have been a very powerful image. For generations, God had directed sacrifices to be made. This was not to appease His anger or as some vain way of obtaining attention, but as a reminder that sin was serious and resulted in giving something up in a significant way. It took us away from being close to God. And sin brought about death. Yet now Jesus’ death and resurrection had done away with those kinds of offerings, they were temporary and were pointing toward when His own offering would be made. He came as a once and for all sacrifice, a complete payment and forgiveness of our sins.

That was an amazing display of God’s love and mercy, and completely turned around the meaning of the word “sacrifice.” We no longer need something to cover our wrongs and remind us of how they separate us from God. We are forgiven and are God’s children, we can come to Him at any time knowing He also wants to be with us. Sacrifice now means that we offer our service and selves to Him. We give up our own pursuits and pleasures and seek to please our Father. He has given us new life, transformed us, and we are alive as we never have been before. We give this “aliveness” back to Him, that is real worship: I am alive, and here I am — all for you Lord! I’m a living sacrifice.

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