From the earliest days, God’s people were instructed to worship by presenting a living sacrifice to God and lifting up a “wave offering” to Him in praise and thanksgiving. The Lord said these things would be “a perpetual statute throughout your generations and in all your dwellings.” (Leviticus 23:9-14)
The Lord’s requirement for a physical sacrifice in worship is affirmed over and over in the Bible. Under the New Covenant, you present your body as a living sacrifice to God and that will never be easy! Why? Because, whether it be an animal or your own flesh, sacrifice is the death of something that doesn’t want to die
Timothy wrote, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubt.” (1 Timothy 2:8)
David wrote, “So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” (Psalm 63:4)
The author of Hebrews wrote, “Through Him, then, let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
It’s important to note that praise and worship should always feel sacrificial! What does that mean? When you present your body as a living sacrifice, it means you won’t always feel like worshipping the Lord.
While that is a “natural” feeling, you are a spiritual being and operating in the supernatural power of praise means pushing past your feelings to literally present your body as a living sacrifice to God by setting aside your flesh to focus on ministry to the Lord in praise and worship.
That can mean singing a new song, raising your hands, shouting blessing to Him, kneeling, bowing, clapping – it is through this sacrifice where the true power of praise is seen in your life.
Fight the Flesh to Present Your Body as a Living Sacrifice
The thing about sacrifice is that something that is living has an internal, inherent, instinctive desire to live and it will fight back in order to avoid death.
This is true in the natural world, but it is also true in the spiritual realm. Your spirit and your flesh are in a constant battle. So when you determine to present your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord in worship, expect your flesh to fight back.
Paul wrote, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Gal. 5:17)
Your enemy tries to keep you ensnared in the natural realm as much as possible because he can defeat you there!~Alicia Purdy
The enemy doesn’t want you to offer your body as a living sacrifice to God because he understands the true power of a believer who is willing to set aside their flesh in praise. Your enemy tries to keep you ensnared in the natural realm as much as possible because he can defeat you there!
Satan wants you trapped inside of your feelings and experiences so he can torment your thinking and speak his lies. However, when you “walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)
Worship is the sacrifice the things within you that need to die, but will not go without a fight.
5 Ways to Present Your Body as a Living Sacrifice to God
It is natural to struggle at times in worship. Your heart and spirit may cry out and desire to praise Him, but the battle against your flesh may be difficult depending on the season of life you’re walking through. However, the sacrifice of praise is just that – the dragging and forceful, aggressive, demanding requirement that your flesh submit to the spirit.
If you are willing to learn how to be a living sacrifice to God, here are five things you can sacrifice:
1. Sacrifice Your INHIBITIONS
You’ll have to sacrifice your inhibitions about other people’s opinions if you want to offer yourself to the Lord in true worship.
The author of Hebrews wrote, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” (Heb. 12:1) This applies to worship as well. Some people feel more free to express themselves in worship and some don’t, but feelings are a natural state of being that prevent the spirit’s freedom.
The Bible is filled with physical expressions of praise to God as seen in the Seven Hebrew Words for ‘Praise’, proving that presenting your body as that physical sacrifice is a vital and important part of true praise. Inhibitions and people’s opinions and self-consciousness block your spirit’s ability to remain God-conscious.
Who cares who is watching! Your worship is for an audience of One. It’s time for inhibitions to die as the sacrifice of praise!
2. Sacrifice Your EMOTIONS
To truly present your body as a living sacrifice to the Lord, you’ll have to sacrifice your emotions like frustration, sadness, anger, depression, or hardness of heart. For the people in the Kingdom of God, faith and feelings will always conflict.
Paul wrote that we must “walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7) The joy of the Lord will be your strongest weapon when you’re in a battle against depression, anxiety and fear.
3. Sacrifice Your MINDSET
The peace that passes understanding will be the strongest weapon when you’re in a storm. The love that covers a multitude of sins will be the most powerful weapon when you’ve been betrayed, hurt or mistreated. Your emotions will block your connection with God in worship if you give them that permission.
It’s time for your natural and carnal emotions to die as the sacrifice of praise!
You’ll have to sacrifice your mindset from things like doubt, carnal thinking and expectations or assumptions to be a truly living sacrifice. God will not take your issues from you if you won’t willingly give them to Him.
Being transformed by the “renewing of your mind” is a bloody, violent process that takes place over time, but the Lord promised that “we will be like Him” when we see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2) You’ll see Him in worship – He dwells there! (Psalm 22:3)
God will not take your issues from you if you won’t willingly give them to Him.~Alicia Purdy
That is why the enemy wants to keep you snared by your own righteousness, your own perspectives, your own opinions and by the definitions that you’ve learned through your experiences in the world.
God’s Word is the only source of truth in existence and everything you believe must line up with that. After all, “how can two walk together unless they agree”? (Amos 3:3) Know God through His Word and pattern your life after His principles.
If you want to go deeper in worship, it’s time present your body as a living sacrifice through your mindset that needs to die within the sacrifice of praise!
4. Sacrifice Your EXPERIENCES
You’ll have to sacrifice your experiences like pain and anxiety, bad choices, victimization, injustice, racism and mistreatment. Every, single person on earth experiences difficult season in life. Sometimes you invite problems through our your bad choices.
Sometimes you are under a spiritual attack of the enemy who works through people to cause harm but you have the Word of God as your weapon! Sometimes “life happens” and people make mistakes or don’t intend to cause harm, but hurt you nonetheless.
You may have had bad experiences, but turn to a good God and He will help, guide, provide, heal and restore.~Alicia Purdy
Your experiences aren’t God’s fault. God doesn’t partner with darkness. (1 John 1:5) He is good, and is a misunderstanding of His Word to think that God causes bad things in order to produce good results. No! Romans 8:28 is clear: God uses bad things (which He did not cause) to work out good for His people, making a show of Satan openly!
You may have had bad experiences, but turn to a good God and He will help, guide, provide, heal and restore. If you want to experience a greater intimacy with God, it’s time for your past experiences to die as you present your body as a living sacrifice of praise!
5. Sacrifice Your BODY
What does it mean to present your body as a living sacrifice? In the most literal sense, your body itself must become part of your praise – your hands, your words, your knees, your voice, your instruments – shouting, singing, clapping, bowing, dancing. Nothing should be off the table as a sacrifice when the Lord prompts your spirit, because God sacrificed Himself for your, first.
This is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do if you’re not comfortable with physical expressions of worship. Many Christian traditions downplay the role of your body in worship and it’s unacceptable in some churches to clap or raise your hands.
That is a deception and misuse of Scripture intended to prevent you from sacrificing yourself to the Lord in worship.
Here’s a challenging thought: If you’re comfortable in how you express your praise, are you really offering a sacrifice of praise to Him?
Even Jesus danced in worship. (Luke 10:21)
Remember what Paul wrote, “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.”
If you’ve been asking God for more, it’s time for your body to die as the sacrifice of praise!
Thought for today: Present Your Body as a Living Sacrifice to God by Dying to Self
A heart that is filled with worship and gratitude is a powerful place to start, but praise without sacrifice and physical expression is an incomplete act and is not what God, Himself, has asked for. Asaph wrote, “Make your vows to the Lord your God, and fulfill them; let all who surround Him bring tribute to Him who is to be feared.”
Psalm 89:15 says, “Blessed are the people who know the joyful shout…” Maybe these sacrifices and expressions of praise conflict with your experiences or the theology of your denomination or the culture or expectations of the church you attend – God is already aware of that!
Now you have a point of sacrifice and there will be days when even just singing is a sacrifice that day. Praise and worship are physical acts of surrender through your body because all sacrifices are physical in praise.
Here’s what’s the most important: If you’re willing to be challenged in your worship, present your body as a living sacrifice and the Lord will speak a new thing in you and through you and to you!
Dig Deeper Into the Sacrifice of Praise: “Power + Praise: How to Enter into the Secret Place of God”
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