How to become a living sacrifice

As a young lad I remember watching the Annual Lou Rawls’ United Negro College Fund Telethon and seeing numerous commercials relaying the UNCF’s mantra—“A mind is a terrible thing to waste!” I took this message to heart and sought every day of my life to do something with my mind. Once I became a Christian, I realized there was something greater than using my mind to learn some skill/trade/talent to work and take care of myself and my family. Is there more for me to do with my mind? What about my mind as it relates to spiritual matters? What about using our minds to produce actions which are pleasing to God? I came to acknowledge that God, the Grand Architect and Supreme Ruler of the Universe, desires all men and women to employ their minds to become a living sacrifice. I dare say we all have failed to master our thinking to produce righteous, holy living.

Many of us at the beginning of this year made some bold statements about what we plan to do in 2011. Many of the New Year’s resolutions are good, thoughtful and beneficial.

Why can’t we do any better than this?

The answer lies in the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:14-25 where he warns us about the powerful pull of sin and carnality (flesh). Paul continues by explaining there is a serious, deadly spiritual war taking place within us—in our minds. We must realize Jehovah God and Satan, our archenemy, are battling for our mind and our service. We have a choice: serve God and live or serve Satan and perish. Unless we win this battle and allow God to guide and direct us, we cannot expect to do anything meaningful for God nor can we serve God unless our minds have been changed.

In Romans 12:1-2 the Apostle Paul explains that you must “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptance unto God, which is your reasonable service.” He goes on to say we must “not be conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”

In the Old Testament, God accepted the sacrifices of dead animals to envelop the sins of the children of Israel, but because of the complete, ultimate and sustaining sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Calvary there is no longer a need to offer animal sacrifices for sins of men. We must offer ourselves completely to God and yield our bodies to Him as an instrument of righteousness instead of presenting our members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.

Throughout chapters 1-11 of the book of Romans, Paul expounds and explains clearly the abundant, divine graces and mercies of the Ancient of

Days.

We must change our way of thinking (mind).

My guess is many of us, if not all, want to do what the Holy Bible commands, but we find it difficult, if not downright impossible to perform or become what God has asked. To do what God requires—become a living sacrifice—it is necessary to do three things. First, we must not be conformed to this world. We cannot get enamored with the world’s way of thinking, its belief systems or its values.

Secondly, we must be transformed just as a caterpillar undergoes a metamorphosis to become a butterfly. Once we are transformed, or changed, people will see us for who we really are—the children of the Most High God—holy, peaceful, honest, obedient, faithful, spiritual, loving, compassionate, gracious, kind and happy.

Thirdly, we must experience a renewing of our mind. To become a living sacrifice which is holy and acceptable to God or to change your life, you must change the way you think. Since the book of Proverbs reveals clearly that “as a man thinketh so is he,” we must take serious the notion that we are what we think or we are driven by our thought processes both in the physical and spiritual realms. This is precisely why the Apostle Paul made the case in favor of being transformed by the renewing of your mind. In other words, we need to have a spiritual transformation whereby the Holy Spirit changes our thinking and ultimately the way we perceive things which in turns alters our actions. Once our minds are renewed, we can unequivocally demonstrate to the world we are living sacrifices to God.

Lastly, we must spend an equal amount of time guarding our minds as we do worshipping and praising God to become a living sacrifice. In order to accomplish this goal, we must do the following daily otherwise we face grave failure in our attempt to please God.