No.249. Thanksgiving that leads to Sacrifice with Joy.

Colours of the Rainbow > Thanksgiving > No.249. Thanksgiving that leads to Sacrifice with Joy.

We finished yesterday’s blog about sacrifice with the words – Thanksgiving will help me to accept the invitation to ‘offer myself again as a living sacrifice’- to do life God’s way. My renewed mind will remind me that I am going to get so blessed in the long run, because His will for me is always ‘good, pleasing and perfect’ and is planned from His heart of love.

So today we are going to look at how being ‘a living sacrifice’ can be a source of joy, although often sacrificial living is thought to be hard and costly.

When we are called to live sacrificially for the Lord, or to ‘present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God’, Romans 12:1, NASB, it can conjure up all sorts of things that we might have to forgo, or that we might have to do that we really would rather not do. It could, and probably will, affect things like our time, our money, or our leisure. It could affect bigger things like where we live and our choice of career. It could also affect our relationships, like denying ourselves the right to hold grudges, to gossip, to be angry or to be selfish. The list is really endless, because – yes – offering myself as a living sacrifice is going to touch every area of my life. We will be agreeing with Paul when he writes ‘You are not your own you were bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19.

“So where is the joy in that?” I hear someone ask. I believe that the joy comes when I see that every call from the Holy Spirit to forego or to let go of something that I am holding onto, comes out of the heart of the Father who loves me. The joy comes when I see that letting go of that ‘thing’ brings me in line with the purposes and plans that God has for me, enabling me to get a great deal closer to the Father. It also frees me up to receive all that He has for me.

Picture the scene – A child is playing with a toy, and is reluctant to give it up or even share it with a sibling or friend. The child holds on tight, strongly defending his/her possession of the toy. Then Dad walks in the room. The child looks up, sees Dad, sees his smile and his open arms of welcome, and so they run and jump into his arms. The toy is forgotten in the light of dad’s presence and the strong arms wrapped around him/her. There is love here, and so joy and laughter also.

Paul tells us that giving ourselves as a ‘living sacrifice’ is our spiritual worship! Now that’s a thought too. This is how I worship, not just by singing songs, but by letting go of everything that He wants to take out of my life in order to fully embrace Him, and all He wants to give and pour into my life. This, I believe, is worship in ‘spirit and truth (or reality)’ John 4:23, and it brings both us, and God great joy.

David knew about this kind of joy. He writes – and this I believe could be the testimony of any who present their bodies as living sacrifices –

                Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance……….I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,……You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.’ Psalm 16:5,6,8,9,11.

Joy is something that we find in God’s presence. He is after all the creator and source of all joy. So this is why I can really thank God for every opportunity to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life, even when it feels ‘costly’. As I thank Him for each and every opportunity to be ‘a living sacrifice’, it will remind me that, as I respond to Him, and let go of whatever I am holding onto, I will find myself (may be a little later) more aware of His presence and full of joy.

This could even begin to make ‘dying to (the old) self’, a lot of fun.


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