I have been sensing God calling me to a deeper walk with Him through the removal (cutting out of my flesh) of all things that are more important to me than He is.
1 Kings 18:22-24 tells the story of how the prophet Elijah confronts the prophets from King Ahabs's court by challenging them to a contest. Two bulls were sacrificed (cut) and the altar was set up accordingly. At the evening sacrifice, the prophets who were worshipping Baal were given an opportunity to call down the power of their "gods" to set the bull on fire. They called and called, to no avail. It's proof of God's sense of humor to see how Elijah mocked these so-called prophets when they did not produce the requested proof of their existence. Verse 28 relates how they danced, shouted and "cut themselves with knives and swords until blood gushed out, but their gods failed to show up. Elijah, however, only had to call upon the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob once when lightning came from heaven and not only burned the bull, but all the water surrounding it.
Genesis 15:8-15 tells the story of God establishing His blood covenant with Abraham and how the flesh of all the sacrifices were cut with the exception of the birds. God walked through the pieces of the sacrifice and made a pact with Abraham that God says he will keep forever.
And, so, we arrive at Romans Chapter 12, verses 1 and 2, which admonish us to "give our bodies to God because of all he has done for us. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice, the kind that He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for yourself, which is good and pleasing and perfect".
The pattern is set throughout the Bible showing how the flesh must die in order to be an acceptable sacrifice to God. Dying to our flesh while still walking around in these disease-ridden bodies is quite a task. It's hard to refuse the flesh when it wants something to eat or drink, or when our eyes want to look on something that is not to God's liking. ... and what about those movies that we want to watch that surely God disapproves of, and maybe, just maybe, that still, small voice that we turn off in our heads is correct when it says, "don't buy that, you don't need it, use that money for someone else's good, and don't ever doubt the power of the mouth to have its say".
When I read the opening verses of Romans this morning, it hit me: I must offer up my body/flesh (read: die to the things I want) to God so that He can transform me by changing the way I think. This is my sacrifice to Him. Only then can I take another step to becoming "good and pleasing and pefect" to Him.
Lord, today I humbly approach your throne (even though your word tells us that because of Jesus' perfect sacrifice, that we may "boldly" approach you and ask for anything in His name), and I ask you to help me do as you require of me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, Lord; give me the desire to do as you want, and the wisdom to know when you have spoken to me whether it be through a word or through a message that I have seen. Purify my heart, Lord, so that I can run this race with integrity. When I have completed this life, Lord, God, I want to hear those words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant". Show me what it is that you want me to cut out of my flesh today so that I can be more like you. I ask this in Jesus name.
Are you being sought by God to begin walking with Him or for a deeper walk with Him? Don't run away. He loves you more than you can imagine, and He wants the very best for you. He deserves our praise and adoration. Open your heart to his guiding spirit today.