THE DESPERATE ACT OF BEGGING
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
In this next chapter, Paul is starting to teach us how to live as a believer of Jesus. Everything up until now has been foundational. He begins his teaching with the word ‘urge’. It really means ‘plead’ or ‘beg’. This is a very strong way to start out, isn’t it?
I’m trying to think if I have ever really begged someone for something. The thought has always been distasteful to me because of how I was raised. In fact, my sister and I were not allowed to dress up and go out on Halloween because we were told that to go to someone’s door and ask for candy would be begging. It was nothing but pride that created such a rule. So rigid was the rule of begging that we thought twice before asking our parents for anything.
To beg is to put your heart on the line. The one who is being pleaded with has a lot of personal power at that point. They can refuse which leaves the one who pleaded pretty wounded and vulnerable.
I was shocked this morning to discover how many times Paul used the word ‘urge’ throughout his writings. He pleaded with his converts on so many issues. Paul has been accused of having no heart?! I don’t think so.
Why would Paul have to plead with me to present my life as a living sacrifice to God? Wouldn’t my gratitude over having been rescued from eternal condemnation cause me to give Him my life? It should. So, if I’m selfish with my life, if I see ‘dying to live’ as a repulsive prospect, the problem is really my understanding of God’s mercy. No wonder Paul said, “In view of God’s mercy, present your bodies.”
For much of my life, I’ve lived pretty comfortably. Because of that, I will not easily get the message that I am a condemned woman, hell-bound, without Jesus. Because my salvation involved a simple prayer, I didn’t see the fires of hell looming. I didn’t see myself on the precipice of being cast there forever. I also didn’t see the death of Jesus firsthand; the bloody ordeal, the betrayal of someone perfect, and the love He gave to enemies. I can ascribe to the tenets of Christianity without ever entering into the truth of the story emotionally.
Without the Spirit of God showing me what mercy cost Jesus, I will not offer myself as a living sacrifice.
Talk to me about Your mercy until I see ‘dying to self’ as my heart’s only response. Shake me up until I get it. Amen