"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1
I don't understand it but the rage these days among young people is the "Twilight" series that deals with vampires. Maybe it is my age or my lack of "hipness" but I don't get the attraction to evil, blood-sucking, undead people. If you are "hip" help me out with that one.
In my day the "undead" people of choice were zombies. They weren't nearly as scary or lethal as the vampires. Zombies just walk stiff-legged with their arms extended in front of them while making grunting noises. Vampires, on the other hand can turn into bats and go airborne on you! I hate when that happens!
Apparently part of the fear of these "walking dead" is that you can't kill them. There is always one idiot in each movie who empties a gun into the zombie and then after he has run out of ammo and just before the monster gets him, he throws the gun at the monster. It is the last stupid thing he ever does.
Why am I talking about this?
Because it conjurs up the concept of a "living sacrifice" as an undead person or a dead person walking. In a sense, that is what God calls us to do - declare ourselves dead to our sinful self and alive to Christ. By faith, you lay yourself on God's altar and die to your ambitions and your agenda.
In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was an essential part of the worship. The worshipper brought a lamb or an oxen or a dove to the priest and the altar and the priest killed it, laid it upon the altar and burned it. That sacrifice was dead! It was not getting off the altar. So, the image of a living sacrifice is like an oxymoron to the Jewish mind.
That IS the challenge of being a living sacrifice, once you offer yourself on the altar of surrender, you must stay there! You are not to take back your gift and use it as you wish. That means you must continually die! Unlike the OT sacrifice this in NOT a once and for all offering. Each day or more likely, multiple times during the day, you continually lay down your will on the altar of obedience.
As long as you leave your sacrifice on the altar, God promises to do some incredibly important things. He promises to "transform you by the renewing of you mind". While you place yourself on the altar as a selfish sinful person, once you do, God does a supernatural work in you! Dying to self allows you to come alive to Him! That is "good, and perfect and pleasing" to God!
Vampire? No thanks!
Living sacrifice? That's what I'm talking about!