Medium Rare or Well Done? (July 29)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 29
Medium Rare or Well Done?

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 79:9-13 | 2 Chronicles 24:1 – 25:28 | Romans 12:1–21 | Proverbs 20:8-10

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 12:1-21

“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. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2a NIV)

Regardless of how you like your steak, we all want to hear the words, “well done” when we stand before Jesus some day. I guess that’s the way God likes his living sacrifices: well done. But if he were to check on his living sacrifice today, where would you be in the process? Medium-rare? Medium-well?

I believe Paul gives us some indications of how well we are doing in offering ourselves as living sacrifices. Here are a few of them:

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our humble service (3-8). God has given you gifts. A living sacrifice demonstrates his or her humility by willingly using those gifts to build up other believers and to share the love of Christ with those who need the good news.

For too many Christians, their commitment to Christ and his church is demonstrated only by their willingness to warm a pew. One who is living a life surrendered to God, will be serving others willingly and using their gifts diligently.

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our devotion to one another in love (9-13, 15-16). A living sacrifice demonstrates love practically and constantly: “Be devoted in brotherly love,” “Honor one another above yourselves,” “Share with God’s people who are in need,” “Practice hospitality”.

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our devotion to the Lord (11, 12). Our faithfulness in prayer and zeal to serve him show the reality of our spiritual fervor.

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our reaction to trials, suffering, persecution, and curses (12, 14-21). Here is advice for a living sacrifice dealing with difficult times: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Trials demonstrate how “well done” you are as a living sacrifice. Do they make you better or bitter? A living sacrifice is patient, joyful, hopeful, and prayerful as he perseveres through trials.

An even more difficult test is your reaction to someone who curses you. Will you lash back at them? Take revenge? The living sacrifice follows the example of Christ and leaves the issue of “payback” to God (see 1 Peter 2:20-23). The tongue of a living sacrifice has died to cursing and is reborn to bless—even those who’ve hurt you most.

It’s not easy. In fact, it’s impossible without his help. That is why you have to die to yourself, so that you can be raised to new life—Jesus’ life in you.

Open your heart to Jesus today, give yourself fully to him—all of you—don’t hold anything back. Then someday you’ll hear those words we all want to hear: “Well done.”

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About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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