We have said that our first step on the journey to unlock the plan of God will require us to present our bodies as living sacrifices. This is the key to success in any part of our Christian walk. Success in any area of life requires complete submission to God.
Any person who succeeds in becoming a living sacrifice will, in turn, find victory over their self-nature and selfish ambitions. This is not necessarily a pleasant journey. Our flesh will fight to get off of the altar once we put it there.
Christians pray for God to open doors for them. They do not consider that the doors have not opened because they have not prepared themselves to step through. If we examine our lives more carefully, it will become evident that doors are not opening mostly because we have been faithful to prepare ourselves to step through them.
The process of becoming a living sacrifice used to be referred to as “dying to self”. This phrase is not used much today. Death is not a popular subject.
The flesh nature has an inherent desire for recognition. It wants to be seen and it craves the attention of people. Our flesh nature must be crucified to successfully unlock the plan of God!
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Paul encourages us to “present our bodies as living sacrifices”. He calls this our “reasonable service”.
A sacrifice will be placed on an altar to die. Can you imagine one changing its mind after finding itself in that position? Sacrifices are at the mercy of the person presenting them!
We are responsible to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices. He will not do this for us. Each one of us has been given free will.
No one can decide to place our flesh on the altar of God. This choice is ours alone! Our flesh may resist, cry, and moan as it is consumed by the fire of God’s presence.
Every one of us was born with a “sin” nature. This is eradicated when a person accepts Jesus into their heart and becomes what the Bible calls “born again”. We will still need to renew our mind (soul) and present our bodies.
A newborn baby is sweet and seems so innocent. They are also completely focused on their self needs. Can you imagine an infant pausing to think twice before waking its parents up in the middle of the night because it is hungry?
We all start in this world with an intense focus on ourselves. Unfortunately, most do not grow out of the self-centered desires of their flesh nature. To successfully unlock the plan of God will require us to place everything to do with “self” on the altar.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
Adam and Eve were the first people to live on this earth. God created them, placed them in the garden of Eden, and supplied every need.
The earth and all of its resources were given to Adam and Eve with only one restriction. They were forbidden to eat the fruit of one tree. This seems like a reasonable demand doesn’t it?
Satan used the forbidden tree as a tool to introduce temptation. He approached Eve and asked her why God did not want them to eat its fruit. I sometimes wonder if this caught her attention because it was something she had considered previously.
The first temptation was focused on Eve’s self-nature. Satan used it to plant seeds in her mind which caused her to question why God did not want them to eat its fruit.
“What was different about this tree?”
“Why doesn’t God want me to eat its fruit?”
Adam and Eve were given the freedom to enjoy the fruit of any tree except one. God took care of them and even spent time fellowshipping each day. He had given them no reason to question His motives for keeping them from the forbidden tree.
Satan was able to find a weakness to exploit even in a perfect world! Eve had no reason to doubt God’s love for her. She had no reason to believe God was holding anything back.
A seed of doubt was planted in her mind that grew into the first sin. This was the first temptation and it was based on Adam and Eve’s self-nature. Every temptation since has also involved mankind’s flesh-oriented desires.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
1 Timothy 2:14
Eve chose to dwell on Satan’s lie. The result was mankind’s fall from grace. She had free will and could have just as easily chosen to walk away when approached by the serpent!
Every person is born into this world with a sinful nature. This becomes evident watching a baby for any amount of time. Babies are completely focused on themselves and their needs. The majority never grow out of this and so remain ruled by their flesh nature.
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