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What is a living sacrifice? To many this many be confusing, but the Apostle Paul sheds light on this in Romans 12:1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. [1]

“God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices which means daily laying aside our own desires to follow Him, putting all our energy and resources at His disposal, and trusting Him to guide us (see Hebrews 13:15–16; 1 Peter 2:5)”[2]

Jephthah’s Daughter Became a Living Sacrifice

Judges 11:30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, 31 I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” [3]

Jephthah had made a foolish vow because the first thing out of his house when he returned was his own daughter who was an only child. It was against the law for the Israelites to offer a human as sacrifice that would result in their death. Instead of being a sacrifice resulting in death, Biblical scholars indicate she would serve the Lord the rest of her life in the Tabernacle. In this way she would not get married or have children. A New Testament example of a woman serving in the temple is Anna in Luke 2.

Surprisingly, Jephthah’s daughter cooperates with this vow. She only asks for some time to process the change in her life’s direction. Judges 11: 36 And she said, “Father, if you have made a vow to the Lord, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the Lord has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. 37 But first let me do this one thing: Let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.[4]

Becoming a Living Sacrifice

Becoming a living sacrifice is not a simple one-day event as our flesh wars against our spirit to have its way. Luke 9:23Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.[5]

Each day we need to pray and ask the Lord for His assistance, because our flesh is weak. Considering all that God has done for us in Jesus, our response should be deliberate and voluntary submission. But we can only do this as God works through us. Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.[6]  Each day is a day of surrender.

To become a living sacrifice to the Lord is not only a call on our life but also a privilege. When we fully surrender to Him, He will transform us into the image of His Son Jesus, use us to further His kingdom, and bless our life with the fruit of the Holy Spirit. To hear more about being a living sacrifice, listen here:

[1,3-6] Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

[2] Barton, B. B., Veerman, D., & Wilson, N. S. (1992). Romans (p. 230). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

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