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.
Romans 12:1 (NKJV)
In the first 11 chapters of Romans the Apostle Paul releases to the church instructions on how to live as a follower of Christ. He teaches us that we cannot trust in ourselves for salvation but that salvation is in Christ and in Christ alone. He tells us that we must imitate the faith of Abraham and be patient in times of trouble. In chapter 6 Paul informs us that when we were baptized into Jesus Christ we were baptized into His death and His resurrection. The Apostle goes on to say from this truth we must learn how to walk in the newness of life by dying daily to sin. In chapter 8 we are told that we can no longer walk according to the flesh, but must walk according to the Spirit. Paul declares to us that true life can only come to us in the measure that we are willing to live according to the Spirit and not according to the deeds of the flesh. In chapters 9 - 11 we are told to pray and to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost and give glory to God for His great wisdom.
After all his teaching the Apostle Paul in chapter 12 verse 1 begins to reveal to us the application to all he had just taught, and in that he unlocks the answer to the question: What is our reasonable and acceptable service to the Lord?
What I find amazing about this transition from teaching to application is the intensity and the tone in which Paul speaks. He uses the word beseech which literally means "to urge, plead or beg." Said another way, the Apostle Paul empowered by the Spirit turns to the brethren, and with an incredible intensity urges them to take the first step in the application process of everything he had just taught. He tells them, and is telling you and me, the first step is to present ourselves (translation: yield yourself) before the Lord as a living sacrifice. Paul uses the word 'living' in this verse to demonstrate to us that this is not a one-time thing we do but rather it is a continual, growing service unto the Lord.
My friend, when we present ourselves before the Lord, when we come before Him yielded, the door to His presence is open and we now can hear what the Spirit is speaking to us. What I love about this verse is the Father is not asking us to come with all our knowledge, with all our gifting, or with our résumés. He is simply saying come present yourself before Me that I may speak to you and reveal to you My perfect will.
In Luke's Gospel chapter 18 Jesus, through the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector praying in the Temple, paints an awesome picture of what it looks like to present yourself as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to the Lord. The Bible says the Pharisee stood and prayed, declaring all the great things he had done and thinking the Father that he wasn't a sinner. On the other side of the Temple was the Tax Collector beating his chest, hardly able to look up to heaven and crying out for God's mercy because he was a sinner. Jesus, in the parable says that it was the Tax Collector who walked away justified that day and went on to say, "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Church, we have been granted permission through Jesus Christ to go boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The invitation has been given and permission has been granted. The question is: Are you willing to present yourself as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God? Remember the parable; it was the one who humbled himself before the Lord who left justified.
Let today be your day to leave justified! I plead with all who are reading this to declare that today will be the day you begin humbly presenting yourself to the Lord and allowing the power of His Spirit and the truth of His word to transform you from glory to glory.
I believe the Apostle Paul spoke with urgency because he truly understood the power of this act. I believe he knew it was the key - the gateway if you will - that will unlock the door to knowing the good and perfect will that the Father has purposed for our lives.
God bless you as you heed His Word and apply it to your life. It is time to make it real!
Blessings and enjoy the Journey!