“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
I had heart surgery last year. It wasn’t a big deal, but a surgeon had to cauterize (burn) a part of my heart that wasn’t working right. He literally burned away a part of me because the issue I was having was potentially life-threatening. It affected everything I did and caused me to stop doing a variety of things out of fear. It started out as a small issue, but as time went on it got worse and worse until I couldn’t avoid it anymore. It had to be dealt with. The only surefire, long-term solution was to burn the problem out.
The same is necessary for our growth in Christ. We all have areas in our heart that need to be surrendered. These are problem areas that continue to cause us pain and affect our every day lives. Although we may not realize it now, they are already life-threatening.
These sins, and those are anything that isn’t like Christ, are leading us to death every day we don’t deal with them. Sure, it’s possible that they are small problems, and we think we can deal with them later. But if we don’t deal with the problem or sin we end up with trouble which will only exist to eat away at us and reproduce (much like Tribbles). We aren’t promised tomorrow, but God has already given us a way out. The only way is a humbling of ourselves; the sacrifice of self.
Remember, our God is an all-consuming fire. Our fear for God should be a trembling fear, rooted in reverence and awe. We should desperately want to please Him and be like Christ. Yes, we fail daily, but we know when we go to Him and ask His forgiveness He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from our unrighteousness.
Even if that cleansing comes by burning fire, we would be wise to take it with a thankful heart. The alternative is much, much worse. But the outcome of our wisdom in this is the abundant life Christ came to bring us. His death on the cross for those very sins we commit was enough to free us from our bondage. All we have to do now is accept that gift of His sacrifice and do the same: sacrifice our “self”.
It has been a little over a year since my surgery, and I haven’t had an episode since. I’m able to run, exercise, do daily chores, and live my life without fear of a recurrence. I know I’ve been cured, and am all the better for it. When we sacrifice self and those things which plague us (the sin that so easily ensnares us), we are opening ourselves up to renewing and transformation. In giving up those areas of our lives that have kept us imprisoned, we allow God to have full reign and bless our lives. There is peace and joy in surrender and sacrifice.
What do you still have in your life or behavior that is unlike Him? What is one thing you wish you didn’t do anymore? I would encourage you to take it to Him. Give it up. Lay yourself on the altar and let Him burn it out of you. It’s the only way. When He lifts you up again, live like you’ve been cured. And then do it all over again with the next thing. This should be a daily practice of yielding to His all-consuming fire.
Prayer: God, forgive me. I know there are areas in my life I have yet to surrender to You; parts of me that are habitual problems I need to have burned out of me by Your consuming fire. I gladly put my self on the altar. Burn it away and help me keep from going back to my habits. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for my sins and bring me life abundant. Help me to want that life and turn from my own ways. Teach me to turn to You for help and discipline, for training to be more like Christ. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. In Jesus’s name, Amen.