Devotion 61 – First Sunday After Epiphany (Evening)

Opening Thought

We will hear what the Lord has commanded you to tell us! (Exo 20:19)

Text: Romans 12:1-5

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.

Devotion

Christ once for all offered the sacrifice for sin and guilt for us when He offered Himself. Shall we not offer ourselves then? Yes, indeed. Christ offered Himself. We should also offer ourselves. We should give God our hearts and present our bodies as a living, holy, and God-pleasing sacrifice. There is no more room for atoning sacrifices, but the sweetness of our thank-offerings and grain-offerings we may cheerfully present to the Lord. The children of the world devote their bodies to the service of sin and make themselves tools for the devil. Believers should use all their members in Christ’s service and do all their earthly work for Him. He owns us and uses us for all the service of our vocation as father, mother, child, employer, employee, teacher, ruler, and the like. He wants us to use our abilities in works of mercy and our tongue to praise God, our hands to help our neighbor, our goods for the happiness of the poor. The world increases in wickedness and distances itself even farther from God. The serpent is nourished in the ungodly by their wicked deeds and grows every day. But the holy are transformed daily to greater and greater godliness. Their understanding of God’s ways and God’s will grows. The meekness of their heart increases. Christ takes better shape in them and their whole walk becomes sweeter before God. The lower they come in meekness, the deeper they come again in Christ’s sacrifice, God’s holy love, and the more closely they are united as members of one Body. They understand that they live to serve one another and to be sanctified together, until the whole Church, the purest, most glorious, most precious Body of the Lord Jesus is completely holy and pleasing before God.

Closing Prayer

“If only we could learn but this one thing: to offer ourselves with heart and soul! O may Jesus alone be my all! Unfortunately I am still very far away. Jesus, You gave me ears to hear. Also reach out Your mighty hand to me that according to my pilgrimage I may live righteously as a Christian in the spirit of holiness.” Amen.

Hymn

Help me, that all my days
My flesh I’m crucifying,
And for the Spirit’s ways
E’er zealously I’m striving,
Daily to grow in faith
And hope and charity,
That, when shall come my death,
I gain sweet victory.

A member of my Lord,
Let me be ever living,
Attentive to His Word,
My life to Him e’er giving;
In faith now strengthen me
With courage to say “Nay.”
When this world’s tempting me
From Your true Word to stray.

Brorson: O hjertekjære Gud L 202:2-3 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: O Gott du frommer Gott (ELH 470); alternate hymn: Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go ELH 506

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