When I think about what it looks like to live a life of worship, I think of things like fervent prayer time, worshiping God at church, giving sacrificially to missions, and Bible study.
And while an obedient Christian woman’s life will encompass each of these aspects, that’s really not what my life looks like most of the time. Most of the time, my life looks and feels very unspiritual.
It’s not that I’m pursuing worldly passions or only living for Jesus on Sundays. No, it’s just that most of my waking (and sleeping!?) hours are filled with dirty diapers, breastfeeding, grocery lists, and scraping dried avocado and mashed banana off the high chair.
I get to feeling “behind” and like the rest of the world is passing me by while I vacuum the kitchen rug and bathe the kids. Most of the tasks I do all day would be considered “menial” work by worldly standards.
And so, when I started to really “get” Romans 12:1, I was amazed:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1 ESV)
Present my body. My physical body — my hands, some elbow grease, and an aching back. The wrinkles, gray hairs, and widened hips of pregnancy. Present my energy, my strength, my mind.
Present my body for what purpose? As a sacrifice.
And how does a holy God receive a sacrifice? He consumes it.
“…let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV)
God has called me to offer my very body as a LIVING SACRIFICE to Him. I am set apart for His use and pleasure, to be consumed in whatever way He chooses. He is the Potter, and I am the clay. I praise God that I am made an acceptable sacrifice because of the Son of God who was a DEATH SACRIFICE on my behalf!
As I treasure and savor this Savior in prayer and through His word, I am “transformed by the renewal of [my] mind” (Romans 12:2). His grace proves sufficient for me, not only to accomplish the day’s tasks, but to walk by faith and with joy in the good works that He has prepared for me. My “menial” work has meaning since it is my offering — my acceptable service of worship — to the Maker of heaven and earth.
Depending on the season of life you are in at this time, your LIVING SACRIFICE to God may look different than mine, but all women (and men!) are called to offer their very bodies to God. With diligence. In purity. By faith. With love.
For a single woman, a very physical offering of her body will be the LIVING SACRIFICE of a heart and body dedicated to purity. Oh single woman!, your life and ministry does not wait until wedding bells ring. An unmarried woman is uniquely suited to devote herself to kingdom work without the distraction of married life. And through the loneliness and challenges of being a single woman, God’s grace is sufficient for you.
For married women, whether or not you have children, God has put you in charge of your home. Use your body and mind to manage and guard over the hearts, bodies, minds, and souls of those within the walls of your house. If God gives you children, sacrifice your body for the well-being of bearing and raising those young souls. Bless your husband with frequent access to your body for intimacy and pleasure. And strengthen and rest your body as you are able so that it is fit for the service to which your King calls you. With joy, offer your very body — your youth, strength, and intelligence — as a LIVING SACRIFICE, knowing that God’s grace is sufficient for you.
For women who are caring for aging parents or disabled children — God’s grace is sufficient for you. Jesus said that, inasmuch as you serve the weak, “the least of these,” you are worshiping Him (Matthew 25:40). One of God’s names is El Roi — the God who sees (Genesis 16:13). He sees your service and work; He not only sees it, but He is the very One for whom you are daily laying down your life.
For women whose bodies are weak and disabled — God’s grace is sufficient for you through sickness and struggle. In your weakness and pain and very physical trials of life and death, the God who is an all-consuming fire is accepting your offering of praise, trust, and reliance upon Him.
For women abandoned, alone, or broken-hearted — God’s grace is sufficient for you. When Jesus was in a physical body, He was abandoned, shunned, and despised. “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of Hosts is His name” (Isaiah 54:5). His grace will enable you to offer your work, your griefs, and your lonely toil as a holy sacrifice to Him.
We remember Christ Jesus who laid down His very body for our own redemption, and He fills our hearts with joy to echo the apostle Paul, “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls…” (2 Corinthians 12:15).
Your work, however menial the world may consider it, has eternal, glorious, gospel-sized ramifications when done for Him and to His glory.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV)
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi.