As you know, if you are a regular reader of this blog, we talk a lot about getting involved with your community, your state, your nation, and your world. We hope that all of us would engage the people around us, loving them as Jesus would, and seeing the gospel transform nations! Sometimes our outward focus, however, leads us into forgetting that we are also to be an offering acceptable to God. We are the first fruits, as the New Testament writer James puts it in chapter one of his letter.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.He chose to give us birth through the word of truth that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.James 1:17
First and Best
Firstfruits, sacrifices given to God in the Old Testament, were the first and best of what the Israelites had, their best crops, and their best livestock. God owns it all but blesses us with it, so his command to them was to give the best of it back, first, before using or selling the rest.
James implies that we are to be that first fruit offering to God. The apostle Paul also speaks to this in Romans 12:1.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.Romans 12:1
How to Live
So how do we do something like this? How do we become living, first fruit sacrifices?
Sacrifices have no other purpose than to bring glory to the one for whom they are being sacrificed. To put that another way, all that we are, all that we have, all that we do and all that we say should bring glory to God. We exist for his pleasure in a relationship with him. We are his representatives here on earth. When people encounter us, they are in an authentic sense connecting with God.
That’s scary to consider. Who can carry the weight of that responsibility? Jesus can, through the Holy Spirit who indwells us. All we can do is to do the best we can to live out our lives as Jesus would, in obedience to the leading of his Holy Spirit. When we fail and fall, his grace covers us, and we get up to try again. We are sacrifices in progress! God uses us in our strengths and our weaknesses for his glory.
As you live out your life of sacrifice, as firstfruits to God, remember that you are not alone and that you are loved. Jesus told us that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light. Trust in his love for you.