There has never been a generation surrounded by more hype than the millennial generation. Campaigns have been launched, blogs have been posted, articles have been written, and even whole books have been written trying to peg this generation. All of these different facets have created a generation of stereotypes. Unfortunately, many of these stereotypes tend to lean toward the negative side rather than the positive. In the midst of these negative assessments, there is still some who find this generation to have a huge upside. The most common word used is “hope.”
As a Christian millennial, we must understand that while there are many negatives, yet still some glimmer of hope in our generation, the only true source of hope for any generation is found in Jesus Christ and the Gospel. So how do you break a whole generation? How can Christians rise to the top in one of the fastest up and coming groups of people our world has ever seen? God’s Word answers these questions in Romans 12:1-6.
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.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.
As the Apostle Paul begins to close out the epistle to the Church of Rome, he gives them a pretty clear way to stand out in a culture that was not distinctly Christian or even religious at that time. The following three posts are three ways we will discuss three ways that we can begin to break a stereotyped generation. In today’s post, we will consider the thought of our sacrifice.
We must become a sacrifice to God.
Paul is writing this to the Church at Rome. While many believe heavy persecution for Christians at Rome did not occur until several years after this epistle, the Christians at Rome were challenged and even begged by Paul to stand out by providing their bodies a living sacrifice to God. Do you think these words may have rang out in their minds several years later as they stood on the arena floor of the Colosseum ready to give the ultimate sacrifice? While Paul may not have fully known why God inspired Him to write these words, God saw into the future and knew that these Christians would be faced with a choice whether to live for their faith or die for their faith.
Just as God saw the future of the Christians at Rome, He sees us today. Many Christians today have placed their faith low on the priority list of life. They have punched their ticket to Heaven and chosen to enjoy their time on earth for themselves. If we, as Christian millennials, will choose to stand out and reverse a whole generation, it must begin with a life that is willing to be sacrificed to God.
Paul qualifies the sacrifice with several adjectives. First, he ask them to be willing to present their bodies as living sacrifices. If you have ever studied the Old Testament practices of sacrifice, you understand that God always asked for the best lamb and the best offering. Too many times we are giving God something that neither of us want. If God did not want the sick or near-to-death lamb in the Old Testament, He does not want us to give our left overs. What if we were a generation that became characterized by giving our best to God? Too many generations before have given Jesus Christ prominence but not pre-eminence. What if your job was just another way to share your faith? What if your social media was controlled by the thought of God? What if your education was another form to glorify God? To reverse a generation, we must begin with a sacrificial life that will be lived for and influenced by God.
The people who are looking at the Christian faith do not need to see any more people who have been saved by Jesus Christ living for themselves. Rather, we need to be living our lives in contrast to the rest of the world. The greatest contrast to selfish living is sacrificial living. Besides, according to Paul, this “sacrifice” is reasonable when we consider all that God has done for us! Would you consider making this reasonable sacrifice and living your life for God?