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.
Why is Paul pleading with us to give our bodies to God? Why isn’t it just a suggestion or an encouragement for us to do so? I bet it’s because Paul has lived both ways; he has lived for pleasing his own self all the time, and he has learned that living to please God is better.
I know a lot of non-smoking family members plead with rather than just encourage their smoking family member to stop smoking. They want their beloved smoker not only to just live, but to have a good quality of life that typically isn’t typical for a chronic coughing, chest wheezing chain smoker.
Paul doesn’t wish for Believers to only be saved and that’s it. We can and should have a great quality of spiritual life. In fact, that’s why Jesus came. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
The way to have life to the full is to give God my body. That means don’t do anything that wouldn’t be pleasing to Him. Don’t physically go places that would be bad for my heart and lead me astray. Don’t do things to only ensure only my comfort and preferences. Take an interest in others and in their needs as well. (Philippians 2:4)
Furthermore, the sacrifices I make should not be done begrudgingly but thankfully. I know that it’s hard to be thankful about something I about to not get my way in, but telling God that the reason I am resisting this or denying that for myself is because I am more thankful for what he’s done for me than I feel entitled over something I should do for myself or receive from someone else.
And I am! I choose to be thankful and to live in such a way that pleases God more than being comfortable and pursuing all my preferences. The way to worship God all the time is to give him my body. That sounds weird; it simply means to do what he wants me to do over what I want to do - and do so with a thankful heart. And that’s why Paul is pleading. He knows it’s a better life to have life that is full of God’s life rather than a life just full of me!
As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
As I learn of the way you do things and of the things you want me to do, I will do them to show my thankfulness. I want to please you more than I want my way fulfilled. I want to thank you for all you’ve done for me by living to please you. I want to give you my body as in let you be in charge of what I do and say, where I go and what I think about because that is not only a good life, but a life full of life! I love you and praise you and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.