I chose the verses to be read at my wedding on a whim, only about 24 hours before the ceremony. I had read them in a devotional that morning and felt compelled to change my wedding verses immediately. My husband’s childhood pastor (who just so happens to be his father) was okay with the change, and so was my uncle, whom we had previously chosen to read some hot and heavy verses from Song of Solomon.
I think that this was a divine change. Like an earworm, these two verses have since been stuck in my head and even though they are simple, they continue to transform my thought patterns.
Playing over and over again in my head, I have memorized these verses by default.
Romans 11:36- 12:1: “For everything comes from Him and exists by His power and is intended for His glory. All glory to Him forever! Amen. And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.” (New Living Translation)
These two verses fit so beautifully together, it makes me wonder why there’s a chapter break here. Paul’s message is clear: giving your body to God is the best worship. Your body isn’t yours to keep, but it is yours to give as a living and holy sacrifice.
Sounds easy enough…
But… I struggle with the idea of a living sacrifice.
As D.L. Moody once said: “The problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar.”
Why do we keep crawling off the altar in the first place?!
You mean well… you offer yourself to God and give your life to Him in a moment of resolution… only to crawl back off the altar.
When faced with a seemingly exciting sin, the altar might seem like a boring, cold place.
That’s a lie from the serpent who told Eve, “Did God really say?”…
Same lie, same liar, just a different time period.
However… God’s truth remains.
God has said that your body is intended for His glory.
I know this internally, however… I’m in a place of selfishness more than I’d like to admit. I know that the problem with living like the world is that I am intended for God and made for His glory. So when I live for another reason, I start to feel unfulfilled, unhealthy, uncomfortable, and unsettled. Like an itchy sweater on my soul.
Just when I have reached the maximum itchiness… I hear a voice calling me back.
He calls me: “Your life is whole when you are resting on the altar. Don’t you remember what it feels like to be in My presence?”
God wants to help you come back to Him.
Crawling back doesn’t happen on your own; the Holy Spirit reminds you of this abundant life and guides you back to the Father’s arms.
Trust Him and let Him guide you there.
Don’t be discouraged by your momentary lapse in judgment in choosing to crawl off.
Just crawl back on.
We are the bride.
On my wedding day, I was on the altar. I was committing myself to my husband, but I was also offering myself to a Holy God who gave me a gift no one else could.
When I am on the altar, I am humble.
We are the bride of Christ, and being on the altar isn’t boring, it’s where we find our true glory. Jesus wants us on the altar “So that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25 ESV)
And on my selfish, frustrating days when I forget about my incredible God and His incredible gifts and purposes, God pursues me, like a Groom smitten with His bride.
Then, I gladly start the crawl back to my Maker’s altar.
If you’re a Christian, the Holy Spirit is in you and is working in you!
For more on how the Holy Spirit changes your life and draws you into the Father, check out this article: 12 Things the Holy Spirit Does For Us