Acceptable to God (Romans 12:1)

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your spiritual service of worship.

Romans 12:1

I am tired this morning. Last night was a time of blessing for me as I was privileged to be a part of a class going over the foundations of Christian faith. I love being a part of this class and have been a part of it several times now. I am blessed each and every time. That said, the class does not begin until 8:00 P.M. and goes, normally, until about 9:30 or so. By the time I get home and make my way to bed, it is often in the 11 o’clock hour. Last night, my daughter decided that she was going to be up for a bit … twice. I finally got to slip into sleep a little after midnight. My alarm went off about four hours later. Complaint? Not really. Just an explanation of why the statement above is “I am tired.”

What has that to do with this morning’s verse? A fair bit, I think. There are those who will construe this verse to mean that I should take care of the temple — i.e. my body, referencing Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit — and there is truth in that. I think, however, that Paul is getting at something else entirely in this verse. The idea of sacrifice is not one of tending to and taking care of something, but of consuming it as part of my worship. The sacrifices most often involve consuming the whole offering and leaving nothing as long as the next day. It is a giving of all. And this morning’s fatigue is, I feel, part of my offering to God. I offer Him my time and energy and myself to use as part of this class. I offer myself to His service as a husband to my wife and father to my children — yes, I count those as service to God, because I believe that they are.

So it is that this morning’s fatigue is, to me, a sort of holy thing. I would not be tired had I not offered myself to God for His use and been used — both as part of the class and as a daddy afterward. I confess that I do not think I was the best daddy ever when my little girl woke me for the second time, but I want to be a father such as gives my children a good beginning for understanding the love of their Heavenly Father. And God is able to make me that and will make me that, because that is something that agrees heartily with His will.

Has my body been offered? Yes, it has. Paul notes that my body is a living sacrifice. I am not consumed like the burnt offering, but I remain and can wriggle off the altar. I need to put myself back on the altar every moment of every day. I need to do this morning and this afternoon and this evening what was done last night: make myself and my time and my energy available to God for His use. This is acceptable to God.

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