Andrew George, Board Treasurer
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (KJV)
James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only. ” (KJV)
I’ve had the great opportunity to serve in ministry in a few different capacities over the years. However, the last 2-3 years may be some of my favorite ones. The Lord has opened doors and opportunities that I would not have imagined. God cleared a path for me to join the Board of Directors at Branches, which has been an amazing time of service. He has also provided me with small discipleship groups to be a part of. All of these came about once I stopped trying to “force” what I thought God was asking or calling me to do. And what it took was to fully surrender my body as that living sacrifice.
These two verses for me have been commonplace in my life. The words made sense, I took them at face value. “Ya, I get it – be actionable for God, don’t just go through the motions.” But in saying that, I really was just going through the motions. We are called to “present our bodies.” This is so much deeper than what it initially appears. For my whole life I viewed Romans 12:1 as a directive to make sure I did not “desecrate” the body which God gave me – which is important. However, I missed the mark on the deeper meaning that Paul was talking about.
God wants you, all of you – all of the time. This is getting to the heart of his message here. It has been a call this entire time; and I missed it. We are called to live a life completely for God. There is a physical, surface level component in this verse; however, the spiritual aspect is so much bigger. God wants me, He wants you! Not just our work. I need to ensure that I am giving Him myself, wholly and alive.
I am so glad that God led me down the path of small group discipleship. It has been a very long time, if ever, that I’ve allowed myself to be spiritually vulnerable to others—but that is part of offering our bodies for His calling. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend (Prov 27:17).” By acting and doing, engaging in discipleship, we are working to make our spiritual bodies more acceptable to Christ. And in the process of this discipleship, we are aiding our brothers and sisters in that same manner. Encouragement, accountability and teaching, these are just some of the many outputs we can achieve from the intimacy of our small group—especially if we allow ourselves to be spiritually (and emotionally) vulnerable. But remember, we are to sharpen each other!
“A living sacrifice” aren’t just words in the text. As I sat and reflected on this, I realized the importance of the living sacrifice. I am supposed to be bringing myself alive “spiritually” to the altar of God. I am to live a life of worship and service in accordance with God’s Word. During these opportunities of service on the Board in addition to deeper study in my small groups, I realized that there were parts of life that I was only a hearer of the Word, deceiving myself. This is my reasonable service to God. This is a constant and continuous life of service.
Sit back, reflect, and ask yourself, “Have I been fully giving myself to God”. I wasn’t. I clearly had more to give, more to learn, and still have much more growing to do. “How can I be a doer?” “In what ways can I partner with God in sharpening a brother and sister?” It’s our reasonable service.