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Summary: Sacrifice is a word that few people enjoy hearing about unless it is in baseball. When a runner is on third base and the hitter hits a deep fly ball to left field, he is credited with belting a sacrifice fly to bring the runner home.

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Presenting Yourselves as a Living Sacrifice (Romans 12:1-10)

Sacrifice is a word that few people enjoy hearing about unless it is in baseball. When a runner is on third base and the hitter hits a deep fly ball to left field, he is credited with belting a sacrifice fly to bring the runner home.

Illustration: Recently, in the bottom of the ninth, Gary Sheffield, of the New York Yankees, came up to bat against Boston, knowing that even though he could swing for the fences, he focused on getting wood on the ball, to hit a sacrifice fly toward the "Green Monster Wall" in Fenway park in Boston, bringing home a much needed run.

Later than evening, one fan even reached out to punch Sheffield when Jason Varitek hit a triple along the right field foul line. Even then, the Yankees lost the game, but Sheffield did his job and he was credited with offering himself as a sacrifice for the good of the team.

Too few of us are willing to sacrifice to advance others on to heaven or maturity because of fear, selfishness or lack of obedience. Sometimes, it is necessary for soldiers in the Christian army to experience a wound or two in order to achieve victory. There are bound to be sacrifices made in the battle for Christ, His Kingdom and His righteousnes. (Matt 6:33,34) Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No there’s a cross for everyone and there’s cross for me.

Present yourself to God or you will end up offering yourself to one of many life’s vain pursuits, pleasures or personal interests.

Paul wrote to a group of Christians who were under heavy persecution in Rome these words, "I beseech you therfore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1)

Illustration: The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. —Psalm 84:11

Incredible as it sounds, Alexander Whortley lived in a mini-trailer 3 feet wide, 4 feet long, and 5 feet high until he died at the age of 80. It was made of wood, had a metal roof, and it housed him and all his meager belongings. No matter where he worked, Whortley chose to spend his life in that cramped space, even though larger quarters were always available.

I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to live in a box—certainly not if housing with far more elbow room were available. But are we allowing ourselves to be squeezed into narrow boxes of a different sort? Are we hemmed in by selfishness, an unforgiving spirit, bitterness, or sinful habits? Are we boxed in by unbelief with its coffin-like narrowness of vision, seeing only this little world and this brief lifetime as the hope-suffocating sum of our existence?

God wants us to live in the expansive joy of His strength, realizing the security of His protection and the blessing of His favor (Psalm 84:11). He lovingly urges us to dwell in the spacious mansion of faith, obedience and freedom in Jesus Christ. But to do this, we must, in obedience to the Lord, move out of our spiritual boxes and abandon the doubt, the guilt, and the fear that constrict our souls. —VCG


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