An “acceptable” sacrifice is the one God asked for
Worship is powered by sacrifice. We minister to the Lord without our very selves – our bodies, our spirit, our hearts, minds and souls. Every aspect of our being should be incorporated into the worship of the Lord. Why? Because that is what He asked for. You, through Jesus Christ, in all your imperfections, mistakes, regrets and humanity, are the perfect sacrifice to offer to the Lord in worship. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God,” Paul wrote in Romans 12:1.
Yet, still we try to offer the Lord things He never asked for in our worship. Why do we do that?! Worship is ministry to the Lord. When we try to make worship about ministry to us, or when we focus more on our feelings than on His faithfulness or when we offer things to God that He didn’t ask for, what can we reasonably expect? Worship is what God says it is – not what we feel it should be. This is not a “right way or wrong way” issue- it’s a heart issue. What are we offering to the Lord if we aren’t offering ourselves as a sacrifice to Him? Not our money. Not our acts of service. Not our teaching of Bible studies or raising up disciples. Those are all good and necessary things, but they are not worship. Worship is ministering to the Lord with the physical, bodily expression of gratitude from your heart to the heart of God.
When we try to make worship about ministry to us, or when we focus more on our feelings than on His faithfulness or when we offer things to God that He didn’t ask for, what can we reasonably expect?
In Malachi 1 the Lord admonishes His people who have grown routine in their worship- and even they are bored with it! “What a weariness it is!” you say, “And you snort at it!” (Malachi 1:13) Because they strayed away from ministry to the Lord in their worship, and drifted away from bringing to Him the sacrifice He asked for, the Lord refused to accept their offering. “…You bring in what is stolen, the lame, or the sick; thus you bring an offering! Should I accept this from your hand? says the Lord. [A deceiver has] in his flock a male, and vows, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. “For I am a great King!”, says the Lord of Hosts, “and My name is to be feared among the nations.”” (Malachi 1:13-14). God accepts you. You have “in your flock”, within your ability to offer, what He desires. You. He doesn’t want to be worshipped with anything else from you. Offering to the Lord a flesh-and-blood sacrifice – your body in worship to Him – is acceptable. He knows you have it in you – do you know it?
Thought for today
Remember, an acceptable sacrifice of worship is the one God has asked for – you! You are accepted through Jesus Christ. Following the pattern of what Christ did, we offer our bodies to the Lord – in worship. “Sacrifice” in worship is whatever the Holy Spirit asks of you in that moment. It won’t be the same every time and it shouldn’t be!! Some days just singing will feel like a sacrifice while on other days, it takes everything within you just to raise your hands. Whatever sacrifice the Lord brings to your spirit in worship is the one to offer Him. He will beckon you, prompt you in worship. He knows your point of sacrifice in that moment. Be open to the uncomfortable, sacrificial worship request from God. If He’s asking, don’t offering a “blemish” – He deserves more! It might hurt or take every ounce of your strength, or even feel like a stretching beyond what you’re comfortable with, but God is faithful to bless those who bless Him in this way!