Offering up my Spiritual Sacrifices

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house…”

What?

“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious cornerstone…”

Huh?

These metaphors from 1 Peter have always irked me. I can picture the image: Me, in the shape of a stone scrunched up and squeezed in tight around all sides as other stones are packed in around me. The imagery never makes me smile and revel in this promise of God. Honestly, I think it would stink to be a stone, especially for eternity. My personality likes change and new projects, routine and structure sap my strength. So what’s the deal? Are we forever rocks in this Church on first and main in heaven? Alive, forever breathing into eternity, yet scrunched up and stuck?

Thankfully no, Peter is speaking figuratively in these verses and trying to help us to imagine how we all have a place and purpose in the world-wide Church. He goes on to say in chapter 2 verse 5, ” you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

My last week felt out of this world busy – full to the brim with sacrifices for God – good things. At the end of the week I caught at a thread of my thoughts and yanked, to examine my motives. I saw that I was proud of my sacrifices, proud that I gave them. I also saw that I was grateful to feel growth in my heart and excited that my heart was inclined to obey the Holy Spirit.  But that pride. It snaked around my deeds like it owned them. The end of verse 5 came to mind, “to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

All of the things I do in obedience to the Holy Spirit, on my merit aren’t good enough to please God. The Spirit reminded me of my inability to please God on my own, dousing me in humility.

Are there things, friend, you’ve suffered through or accomplished for Jesus that you pin gold stars on your sleeve for?

Let’s remember together today that those offerings are only made acceptable through Jesus.

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We are only made acceptable to God through Jesus.

I’m a people-pleaser, so naturally this is something that God and I wrestle through as well. I pepper God with my thirsty soul questions: “Am I pleasing to you? Are you proud of me? Have I irritated you?” And it’s here at the asking that I find my soul thirsts quenched. Everywhere else, my husband, friends, boss, mentors, or family, I ask these questions and I find that I always need to re-ask and re-ask because their answers always change. I can never quench my thirsts in their words.

But here, asking God these questions my thirsty soul drinks deep and long. It’s only when I forget to keep drinking that I am thirsty again.

His answers to my questions address me as I really am:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:1-3

His answers tell me that He knows all of my shames, sins and secrets, but:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7

But, I am loved. But, because of Christ I am no longer a child of wrath – worse than irritating, I brought on His wrath – no, I am a child of God. I’ve been given my Father’s inheritance. It’s crazy this love! God didn’t just send Christ to “fix” us, He loves us and wants to dote on us for all of the ages to come!

But, remember with me today, it’s not of our doing, only Christ’s. He is the cornerstone upon which the whole Church holds together. I’m not that stone. You’re not that stone. He alone makes who we are and what we do acceptable and pleasing before God. So today let’s walk wrapped in humility, remembering all that Jesus has done for us.

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