Lessons in Life and Leadership, Pt. 3 (Living or Dead Sacrifice?)
The Bible discusses this idea of being a “living sacrifice.” I once heard someone say in regards to this, “notice it says living sacrifice and NOT dead sacrifice.” It’s so hard for you, me or anyone else to be used by God if we are dead–completely devoid of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual capacity. Biblically, our lives should be marked by being a living sacrifice, not a dead one.
But the question remains, “how do I stay in the living category?” I got an idea about this when I read Anne Jackson’s book, “Mad Church Disease.” Jackson focused on the importance every person must place on what is traditionally called “the Great Commandment” in the Bible. You know, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength… and love your neighbor as yourself.” Notice the order. Loving the Lord with “all your heart, soul, mind and strength” comes before “loving your neighbor as yourself.” To maximize our service to God and others around us, we must first live out of the Great Commandment in order to be a living sacrifice. Abusing all our resources until we have nothing left, leaves us dead and useless.
So, how do we remain in the living category? Here are a few ideas based on the great commandment:
Love the Lord your God with all your…
- Heart: Do you keep short accounts? Do you guard your heart? Do you forgive others? Do you forgive yourself?
- Soul: Are your relationships with God and others open and honest, or are you plagued with inauthenticity?
- Strength: Are you physically healthy? Diet? Exercise?
- Mind: Where do you focus your mind? On the grace of God or achievement in this world? Despair or hope? Life or death?
A Living Sacrifice
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is true worship.
Matthew 22:35-37 (Today’s New International Version)
35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
Philippians 4:8 (Today’s New International Version)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.