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.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart.
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
The acceptable sacrifice is death.
But didn't Jesus say, 'I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly' (John 10:10)? Yes!
But He also said, 'Whoever loses his life for My Sake will find it' (Matthew 16:25). Are His Words contradictory? Certainly not. Are we talking about finding Heaven when we leave this earth? Yes, but we're also talking about finding Heaven on this earth. It's called 'The Kingdom of God,' and we enter It when His Spirit enters us.
As Jesus said to the wise, but questioning scribe, 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God' (Mark 12:34).
Or to the unwise, but questioning Pharisees: 'If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the Kingdom of God has come upon you' (Matthew 12:28).
Therefore, we must die to self and be born again in Him: 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God' (John 3:3).
Unless we die to selfishness and commit to Christ, His Spirit has neither the invitation nor the room to enter us. Therefore we die once to receive His Gift of the Holy Spirit. But that's not all. We must continue to 'Die daily' (1 Corinthians 15:31) that we may continue to grow daily--in Him.
Aids to the daily death of selfishness include: 1) Thanksgiving to God (see Hebrews 13:15), 2) Praise of God (see Hebrews 13:15), 3) Humility (see Psalm 51:17), 4) Good deeds and sharing (see Hebrews 13:16), 5) Obedience to God's Word (see 1 Samuel 15:22), 6) Mercy and knowledge of God (see Hosea 6:6) and 7) Justice (see Amos 5:24).
'I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me' (Galatians 2:20).
Sectarianism must be discarded as excess baggage. It prevents our swift pursuit of the acceptable sacrifice.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sectarianism series.