The Navigators send a daily devotional. They are featuring Jerry Bridges work Holiness Day by Day. I am sharing this because my words for 2023 are Living Sacrifice.
“Commit your way to the Lord.” Psalm 37:5
When Paul turned his attention from his masterful exposition of the Gospel in Romans chapters 1-11 to practical issues of Christian living, the first thing he did was call for commitment: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1, NIV).
As we look at Paul’s call to commitment, we can see one obvious difference between the commitment of the devoted athlete and the commitment Paul called for. The athlete’s commitment is to himself or herself or perhaps to the team. The commitment Paul urged upon us is to God. Commit yourself to God. Offer your body to him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to him.
When we commit ourselves to the pursuit of holiness, we need to ensure that our commitment is actually to God, not simply to a holy lifestyle or a set of moral values. The people of my parent’s generation were generally honest, chaste, sober, and thrifty. They were committed to those values, but they were not necessarily committed to God. Many of them were outstanding moralists and even church people, but they were not committed to God. They were committed to their values, not to God.
As believers we need to be careful that we don’t make a similar mistake. We can be committed to a set of Christian values or to a lifestyle of discipleship without being committed to God himself. But Paul said to offer yourselves to God, and in doing that commit yourselves to the pursuit of holiness in order to please him.Navigators Devotional Holiness Day by Day January 22, 2023
What and who are you committed to? When I hear the term holiness I remember my mom talking about “holy rollers” who were purported to jump pews, handle snakes and all manner of unusual things.
Then I also think of visiting God’s Bible School where my maternal Grandmother used to teach and being amazed that when I toured the school in 1979 the women were not allowed to braid their hair, wear a ponytail, had to wear long skirts, etc. This looked to me to be what Jerry Bridges described above. Only God reads hearts, so the sincerity of those actions is only known to Him. My question is are we committed to God or restrictive legalism and rule keeping? Bridges reiterates ‘they were not committed to God.”
When offering yourself as ‘a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God’ I would hope that your commitment to God would be solid. For to be a living sacrifice, you must give up your will and embrace the will of the Trinity. You may be asked to do things outside the realm of your comfort zone, or even the stated rules of your church. Have you watched the series The Chosen? The disciples were often asked to do things outside of their Jewish upbringing. Some of them said Jesus was “turning things upside down” with His teachings.
When the Bengals NFL team began to change over the last 24 months, some looked to see if Joe Burrow would want to be elevated to superstar status like many of his NFL predecessors. He is often compared to other famous quarterbacks because of his skill. Most of the interviews I have seen and the comments I have read point to how common and down to earth he remains.
The team also works to stay down to earth. They have the commitment of devoted athletes. Yes, they train hard, play hard, and are committed to each other as a team, but they also seems to make an effort to stay down to earth as men. Whether they are giving to Demar Hamlin’s charity, praying for his healing after the collapse on the field, or serving children who are ill or in need, these guys seem to be the real deal. I was particularly impressed after their win over Buffalo when many of them dropped down on the field and made Snow Angels! The best shot was from overhead, but this is all I have been able to find online so far.
Are you as committed to God as you are to local or national sports teams? Is yours a seeking to keep legalistic rules or being obedient to what the Trinity asks you personally? (Here is humor, I typed trainity instead of Trinity. Well, how about it? Are you willing to be in training with the Trinity?)
May you pursue holiness always. Hebrews 12:14 reads:
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.