Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
–Romans 12:1

Many Christians measure their faith by asking, “What am I getting out of it?” I hear that all the time. People say, “I am not getting much out of my Bible reading any longer. I am not getting much out of my prayer life. I am not getting much out of the church services.” They think in terms of get, get, get.

May I suggest to you that our focus is all wrong? The key to contentment, joy, and victory in the Christian life is not what we get from God; it is what we give to God. That is one of the paradoxes of the Christian life. We receive by giving. We acquire by surrendering. We live by dying.

This week, we are going to look at our relationship with God in Romans 12:1-2. These are very familiar words from the Bible. Perhaps you have memorized these verses but have never really understood what Paul was saying.

Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” The command in these verses is the command for our sanctification. Paul was saying, “Therefore, in light of everything God has done for you, you are to sanctify yourselves.”

What is sanctification? “Sanctify” means to set apart for special use. The moment you become a Christian, God sets you apart for His use. In these verses, Paul was explaining that even though God set us apart when He saved us, we have to set ourselves apart for God’s use.

A good synonym for “sanctify” is “reserve.” One of my family’s pet peeves about me is that anytime we go to the movies, I insist we get to the theater at least 45 minutes ahead of time. I want to be sure that we get our popcorn, drinks, and everything just right and that we have the best selection of seats possible. But now many movie theaters allow you to reserve your seats in advance. You can go online, buy your tickets, and select your seats, and that means you do not have to get there 45 minutes early. You can get there five minutes ahead of time. When you walk in, the theater may be full, but your seats are empty. Why? Because they have been reserved for you.

That is the word Paul used here. It is the idea of setting apart for special use. The moment you become a Christian, it is as if you take a sticky note that says “Reserved” and stick it on your forehead. You are saying, “From this point on, I am reserved. I am set apart for God’s use.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “What To Do When You Feel The Squeeze” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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