Our church is currently going through a 40 Days of Purpose campaign, and this week we are studying the first purpose of life - worship. Back in the fall of 2001 I wrote a song called "I Exist to Worship You". One of the lyrics references Romans 12:1...
You are nothing less than Master of my life
I fall before Your throne a living sacrifice
The idea of sacrifice is so powerful for me, to think about what it means to sacrifice my body, my life, for Christ. And then to take the step from just thinking about it to actually doing it. Living a life of sacrifice is not easy. The very word "sacrifice" evokes images of pain and loss. The dictionary explains it this way:
"Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim."
My struggle each day is to examine what I value in my life and discover how I may offer it to God. In fact, to offer something I don't value is no sacrifice at all! Often we place considerable value on our own happiness and well-being. I can't count the number of times I've said "I'm not happy with this or that" and how motivated I have become to do things (or stop doing things) to secure my own happiness. Yet, I believe God wants me to offer my happiness to Him, to give up following my own fruitless path to happiness and to be content in Him and all that He is, to say "God, You have a higher claim on my life than I do. In fact, its not even my life, it is Yours, so I sacrifice my happiness to You. I will rest in You. Not my will, but Yours be done".
What would be my motivation for doing this? Again, Romans 12:1 explains that our motivation should be God's mercy. God is merciful, and it is His mercy that should motivate us to offer all that we have to Him. He is God, and it is in His power to demand everything from us, and He would be righteous in doing so. But instead He asks for us to make the sacrifice willingly, to offer ourselves as "living sacrifices", to worship Him with all we have and all we are, to love Him with ALL our heart, mind, soul, and strength. He already made all the sacrifice needed to pay for our sinful lives in full. THAT is mercy! And because of that mercy, we should be motivated to continually offer our lives back to Him in worship, to forfeit all that we value for the sake of Him who has the greatest value and highest claim on our lives.
Therefore, 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. Romans 12:1