Focal passage: Romans 12:1-2, 9-18
Elisabeth Elliot wrote, “Discipline, for the Christian, begins with the body. We have only one. It is this body that is the primary material given to us for sacrifice. We cannot give our hearts to God and keep our bodies for ourselves.”
One could argue that not many people know more about and lived more clearly the idea of sacrifice than Elliot whose first husband Jim lost his life while attempting to deliver the gospel message to the Auca Indians of Ecuador.
She echoes the cry of Paul found in our text when he exhorts us to present our bodies as living sacrifices. More specifically, in response to God’s great mercy we must give our whole self, mind and body, over to God. Where our head goes, the rest of us will go.
So how do we practically do this? Well, we can sum it up in two parts: live authentically and be at peace.
Living authentically, as Paul describes in verses 9-13, includes demonstrating God’s love without hypocrisy and running from evil. In general, Christians should put others before themselves, rejoice in hope, be patient and be persistent in prayer. Share in others needs and exercise hospitality.
Being at peace requires the believer to show love in all circumstances and to do all we can to be at peace with all people. This includes a reminder in verse 17 to not repay evil with evil.
Elliot went back to the very people who killed her husband to live with them and take them the gospel message.