As Easter approaches, the words of writer friend, Shannan Martin, echo in my mind. "I am laying bare my inadequacies and wrapping them in the hope of salvation."
News Flash: God is not after our tidiness, but He's after our holiness.
I admit to, many times, trying to "tidy up" my soul to impress God. I don't know who I'm trying to fool because God can't be fooled, yet I try. I will do all the right things - read His Word, pray, give thanks, but I think what God wants is for us to lay our incomplete-sinful-I'm-not-fooling-anyone lives before Him and ask Him to wash and scrub us clean in the blood of His Son.
So...what am I offering to God this Easter?
Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. So do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12: 1-2)
So what does this mean exactly?
Let's break it down....
Present your bodies as a living sacrifice. In this verse sacrifice means "offering". In a way this verse is an oxymoron because usually ancient sacrifices meant killing something and offering the dead animal up to God, but here it says He wants us to be living sacrifices...to offer up our lives while we are still living. In other words - giving our whole life to Him
Present you bodies as "holy". Here holy is "hagios" in the Greek which means "acceptable to God....devoted to the Lord." Under "holy" words like "consecrated" and "sanctified" are used. Consecrated, has in it the root "sacred" which means to be set apart from the unclean. Sanctification also has this idea of separation and dedication.
We are set apart for God's use in acceptable service to which we are to be dedicated.
So, in addition to my tidy work of reading His Word, and praying, and attempting to do good works, have I given God what He really wants?
Have I "laid bare my inadequacies". Have I come to God's altar and said, "God you know my sins and my failings, but HERE, I give it ALL to You. I can't fool you, so here I am sins, stains, flaws, failings and all. I want you to scrub me and make me clean; set me apart, let me be dedicated only unto You, and USE me in YOUR service."
If I really want to get dangerous and open myself up, I will pray Psalm 139: 23-24:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Do I want God peering in all the dirty crevices of my heart? Just who am I kidding? He knows it all anyway, but He is waiting for me to open up, invite Him in, lay myself completely bare in front of Him. No more hiding. No more striving. No more tidying up my life to make it presentable to Him. Why? Because that's not the definition of holy.
So what's at stake if we are not laid bare and made holy?
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD. (Hebrews 12:14)
God, being the awesome God He is, does not call us to be holy without giving us the way to be made holy.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. (2 Timothy 1:9)
God gives us the Way to be holy, consecrated, sanctified....He gave us Jesus. He gave the ultimate sacred offering that washes and scrubs us clean in the blood of Jesus the lamb. By His grace and mercy He makes us clean and holy. He's done the hard part.
So now what does He ask?
Present your (made holy by me bodies) as a living sacrifice to me. This is the ultimate act of worship. - God
Lay yourself before me. Give me all of yourself and in doing so, others will see me too.
What are you giving God this Easter? What keeps you from laying it all before Him? What will God do if you bring Him all your junk? What have you got to lose? What do you stand to gain? Why is your life, being made holy, so crucial?
Dear Heavenly Father, I praise you that you love us for the ragamuffins that we are. You already know our sins and weaknesses, yet you still invite us to come to you - come just as we are. Give us the strength in our weakness to lay ourselves bare before you, so that in doing so, you can cleanse us and make us holy. Then, let us present our lives as living sacrifices to you - set apart and dedicated to doing Your will. Thank you for Easter and for the ultimate gift of salvation. God you are awesome and we/I praise You! In Jesus name, Amen.
Be blessed.....and PLEASE pray for our school in the Middle East this Easter. Last year they were rocked by bombings. There have already been attacks in Egypt...put a hedge of protection around your sons and daughters we pray.