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Becoming a Living Sacrifice

Café Menu for Monday, December 23, 2013
Today’s Special is: How to Love the Unlovable
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Brenda Rodgers
Main Ingredient:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Romans 12:1 ESV

Entrée:

Before the doorbell even rang the tension rose in our house creating a silent chill.  It was Thanksgiving Day and surely a day to be thankful, but also a day that needed endurance.  Unfortunately, not all family members show up filled with happy memories.

I stood in the kitchen, kneeled down to put the last casserole in the oven and became even more aware of my heart beating through my chest.  My mind was like the newest family TV drama as I played out possible scenarios of quick-witted comments and controlling behavior.  I rehearsed what I would say just in case “this was said” or “was said.”  I wanted to be prepared.  The anticipation was more brutal than the confrontation.

How many times have you been in this same situation? Remembering cutting remarks and hurt feelings from the last family get-together while trying to arm yourself for what’s to come this time. There’s no doubt that family interactions can often be the most frenzied. Whether it’s because of the fragility of the person or simply a clash of personalities, dealing with difficult people is stressful.

As I continued to rush around the kitchen cleaning up last minute messes, I thought to myself that I had a decision to make.  I could either allow this person and ultimately the enemy to steal my joy or I could rise above the snares and focus on the One who I’m really here to honor in the first place – God.

In those final moments by myself in the kitchen, I thought about what it would look like for me to honor God in the midst of tumultuous family interactions.  To be honest, it seemed impossible.  The personality was strong and the tongue was fierce.  Then I remembered Romans 12:1 and the truest way for me to worship God was to give myself as a living sacrifice - not because the other person deserved it, but because God offered me a living sacrifice – Jesus – to forgive me of all of my sins.  By becoming a living sacrifice myself, I then show Jesus to others.

Take Out:

Shelley Hendrix explains this idea of being a living sacrifice beautifully in her book Why Can’t We Just Get Along?  By being a living sacrifice, as opposed to a dead animal sacrifice the Jews offered in the Old Testament, our focus turns to worshipping God, not man, and Jesus within us continues to influence others.

When I focused on God as the recipient of my love, because of His never-ending love for me – my perspective changed – my heart softened.  It didn’t make the person change, but it made my responses change – and it made Jesus shine within me.

Dessert:

Lord, You know that getting along with my family members all of the time is so difficult for me.  You know how my flesh just wants to fight back, be defensive, prove my point and even withhold love.  But Your Word says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”  (Romans 12:18 ESV)  In my moments of deep temptation, will You please remind me whom I am truly worshipping by seeking peace with all by being a living sacrifice?  Will You remind me of Your living sacrifice to me – Jesus – who took away all of my sin?  I pray that others see Jesus in me so that we can know You, our Creator, and live in the fullest of life You promise.  Thank You, Lord, for Your unending mercy.  Amen.

Why Can’t We Just Get Along?: 6 Effective Skills for Dealing with Difficult People by Shelley Hendrix

Biblical Peacemaking I: Reconciling and Amending by Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village Church

Biblical Peacemaking II: Confronting And Forgiving by Matt Chandler, pastor at The Village Church

For more encouragement, visit Brenda at http://www.triplebraidedlife.com/, where women do life with Jesus moment by moment.

© 2013 by Brenda Rodgers.  All rights reserved.

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