The new you… fully surrendered; part 3
“Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
We have been talking about why a full surrender to Jesus is so vital…
In Romans 12:1, the apostle Paul mentions something that we tend to gloss right over. We grasp the “present your bodies as a living sacrifice” thing – it’s about giving our lives completely to God (just as we have been talking about!). But the apostle’s reason for doing so is often missed… or neglected completely.
He talks about our complete surrender as being our “spiritual worship.” What does this mean? And why is it so essential in our full surrender to Jesus?
The word translated “spiritual,” here, literally means “logical, or rational.” In context, it is a worship that makes sense – OR is the only reasonable/logical course to pursue (some translations render this word: “reasonable”). So how does something “logical” …get to be “spiritual?”
Just this way… The Bible talks a lot about what happens to a person who turns his/her life over to Jesus. One of these things is that we become spiritually “alive.”
God would have us understand two things… 1) We are spiritual beings occupying a physical body; and 2) that, before receiving Jesus (and what He has done), we are ALL spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). This means that our spirits were disconnected from God. Separated. Anesthetized. Dormant. We were alive physically, but not alive (to God) spiritually. This is definitely not what God wants.
Our surrender to Jesus changes all that… immediately.
But, here is the thing… Now, we are spiritually alive – but we are also physically alive. This presents us with an arena for imminent conflict. We can live either by the spirit (now alive) or the physical (what the Bible calls “the flesh”). To live by the “flesh” means that we are acting and reacting only according to our physical senses – and by our old nature that was formed and trained by those senses (everything we did; and was done to us).
The problem is that the Bible tells us, plainly: “The flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to one another, so that you do not do what you want.” (from Gal. 5:17) Our flesh will fight to oppose God and His ways.
Bottom line: the flesh will NOT desire to surrender to God. But, because we are now spiritually alive (reconnected to God) we have a choice! The apostle’s exhortation is that the “reasonable” or “logical” thing to do is to: A) make our bodies (the flesh) a living sacrifice; and B) walk (live our lives) by our alive spirits.
The fully surrendered heart understands the importance of living by the spirit – and sees it as the only logical way to approach life, now that God has rejuvenated our dead spirits.
As Christians, we are able to live by the flesh OR by the spirit. The choice is ours. The surrendered heart chooses to do the most reasonable thing – because it is the best, most spiritual, and God-honoring thing we can do.
Prayer focus: God, help me each day to live my life by the spirit — and to realize when I am walking according to the old me.