“Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:2 –

A holy sacrifice. Wholly committed to the Lord. That was what God required of the Jewish people for atonement for their sins. For the Savior of the World had not yet arrived.

The sacrificial system pointed forward to the coming of Christ. He would be the perfect and final sacrifice ever needed. The fragrant offering who would atone for sins once for all mankind.

“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” – Romans 12:1

A holy sacrifice is what Jesus desires of us. A living sacrifice. A humble, repentant heart. A wholly surrendered life willing to submit and follow Him. Yielding all – not keeping part of our lives from Him and His control.

“Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down… Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: My own will shall become yours.’” – C.S. Lewis

Jesus wants us… all of us. Not just the areas of our lives we want to give Him. We are more important to Him than we could ever fathom. His love for us has no end. His mercy abounds toward us. His greatest act of mercy and love was when He laid down His life so we could live. There is no greater love than this (John 15:13).

When we accept Christ into our hearts, we repent and yield to His supreme kingship in our lives. We lay down our arms and turn from our rebellious ways. We receive His Spirit who comes to guide us along the path of righteousness.

Our walk of sanctification begins. We live under the reign of Christ. Yet we are in no way perfect. There is much work for Him to do in us. For He desires to transform us into His image. We cannot transform ourselves, no matter how hard we may try. This journey to Christlikeness is a lifelong process that will not be complete until He calls us home.

On our spiritual walk, this fallen world still influences us. It attempts to shape us by its values… values often in direct opposition to kingdom values. The world tries to mold us from without while Jesus tries to mold us from within. The battle between flesh and spirit wages on.

How do we become living sacrifices devoted and committed to our Lord?

Surrender is the key. For He can do little with us when we are still immersed in the world. We will not see progress on our spiritual walk. We will not see our lives transforming. We will meet upon defeat after defeat as we attempt to live our lives in our own power.

“The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.” – D.L. Moody

Have we fully surrendered? Are we resisting the attempts of this fallen world to shape us? Are we moving toward Christlikeness?

Perhaps we have partially surrendered to Christ, yet are still holding on to areas of our lives where we do not want to fully submit. Or we may desire to submit…  yet fall back into worldly ways as society and its values attempt to mold us. We wander away from our Lord.

Perhaps we have submitted in word, yet our actions do not follow our confession. Our rebellious nature is still at work in us. We balk at complete submission. Our desire is to live as we please. … to live an autonomous existence in control of our own lives and destiny.

“For Christ’s love compels us… He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

As our Lord chose us to be His before the world was created, so we choose to surrender to Him. We choose in response to His love for us… in response to His perfect sacrifice on our behalf. We choose to follow His will all our days.

When we choose to yield to Christ, we can rest in knowing that we are surrendering to His perfect love, His all-knowing wisdom, His absolute best for us. We become a fragrant offering that brings Him great glory.

We open our lives completely to the One who gave His all. Jesus steps in and works mightily in our lives through His Spirit within us. For only He can sanctify us… transforming us into His perfect likeness.

Lord, we choose to surrender to You. We choose to yield to You in every area of our lives. We desire to be a fragrant offering to You… a living sacrifice made holy by Your perfect sacrifice. By the power of Your Spirit, we ask that You would help us daily live for You and not be influenced by this fallen world. Transform us more and more closely into Your image. May we live Your kingdom values in our lives so the world will see You in us. Amen.