“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. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
If you’ve ever seen words in a textbook or notebook highlighted, underlined, in bold, all upper case, so unbelievably obvious that the person whose book it is simply can’t avoid noticing the importance of those words because they so incredibly stand out, that’s exactly how I felt the day the Spirit of God gave me these three words as I was walking down a New York City sidewalk.
“MAKE THE SACRIFICE,” He told me.
What sacrifice? What was He telling me? I knew exactly what He was saying. And why. I was exhausted. About three months of ministry work so far in New York City, and I was wiped out. Not only that, for a couple of days, I started thinking of how nice it would be to take off, to pack up my dogs and go, to go somewhere easy, simple, clean, cheap, safe, effortless. Just a little vacation. Or, better yet, a permanent move. What would be my next location, I wondered. Where would He send me next now that I was out on the road full-time for Him and ministry. Was it time yet? Could I go now? Oh, the relief I would have! The Lord knows our every thoughts. And our every need. He knew I needed to hear those words. The reminder. That my life is no longer mine. It is His.
“MAKE THE SACRIFICE,” He had said.
He was reminding me I hadn’t come to New York City for me. I had come for Him. And I wasn’t going to stay for as long as He wanted for me. I would do it for Him. It wasn’t a one-time sacrifice of leaving behind house, family, friends, comfort, affordability, cleanliness, safety, a secure life near the beach in South Carolina. It would be a day by day sacrifice. A moment by moment surrender. A daily leaving behind what I needed to leave behind, letting go of what I needed to let go, of surrendering what I needed to surrender, of living utterly and wholly for Him according to His ways for His glory. This was an ongoing sacrifice.
In three months, I have seen rats, met people high on heroin and crack, had crime confessed to me, walked out my apartment building to see a parade of naked men covered in paint, watched drugs being sold, shared Christ with and prayed for people only to turn around minutes later to see one shooting up a drug, taken a shower with my massive paralyzed dog because I don’t have a tub for him to help his skin issue, watched women holding hands, seen men kissing, paid a ridiculous amount of money for things as simple as water and cookies, walked a mile with my dogs to go to the vet to save the $20 car fare, done my laundry in the shower to avoid the $13 dollars a load I usually pay, watched when I breathe walking down the sidewalk to avoid inhaling all the pot, and cigarettes, and on and on. The Lord was reminding me to sacrifice all for Him. To go where He sends me to do what He sends me to do to bring glory to His most blessed forever name. A life of surrender. No matter the cost. And the cost I pay is NOTHING compared with what so many others pay who live their lives for Jesus. But still, for me, it involves sacrifice. Sacrificing my everyday life for Jesus who sacrificed His very life so I could believe in Him and follow Him and have forever life with Him!
I am not alone in this, friend. The Lord calls His followers to sacrifice our lives, our dreams, our agendas, our plans, our to-do lists, to lay it all aside, and to live according to His plans for our lives, for His purpose, to bring Him pleasure, praise, honor, and joy.
I don’t know what He’s asking you to sacrifice. But I know this. MAKE THE SACRIFICE. No matter the cost. For Christ’s sake. Sacrifice it all for Him. For He is Lord. Forever and ever, AMEN!