Good question. I’m not sure what I told her then, but have been thinking about it again and understand much better now how to answer that question. In today’s devotional reading, a passage from Hebrews tells the reason Jesus came and what He accomplished. His purpose for coming is also my purpose for living. When I do what He came to do, letting Him give me all I need to do it, then I feel like I have accomplished something.
The book of Hebrews explains how believing in Christ is far superior to that old sacrificial system of offering bulls and sheep for sin. Its author points to many reasons, a major one being that those former sacrifices had to be repeated and were but a shadow, while the sacrifice of God’s Lamb, Jesus Christ, was the true form and it was made once for all sin and all time.
For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ (Hebrews 10:1–7)
Reading this puts my focus on the power of Christ’s motivation. He came to do the will of God, to be the perfect and final sacrifice for sin. To do that, He needed a body, so God gave Him the body of a man. In human flesh, the Son of God died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day. On the cross, He declared, “It is finished” because the debt for sin was paid. Not only that, the sacrificial system came to an end.
When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:8–10)
Even though the sacrificial system was abolished in Christ, sacrifices are still part of Christian living. Instead of placing a lamb on an altar, we who believe in Jesus Christ place ourselves there.
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)
You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
My purpose for being here on earth is to offer myself to God as a spiritual sacrifice. What does this mean in daily life? What is a spiritual sacrifice? For one thing, it is giving up sin and instead offering myself to God that He might use my body, just as He used the body of His Son, to do His will.
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Romans 6:13)
Jesus declared that He came to do the will of God. This is my declaration too. I’m not always sure what it is, and not always faithful to carry it out like Jesus was. Nevertheless, this is why I am here, as a body set apart for the will of God. When I do what He put me here to do, then I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Whatever the day may bring, it will bring choices. I can do my own thing and be frustrated at the end of the day with a sense of having “wasted” my efforts, or I can listen to Your Spirit and make whatever sacrifices are necessary to do Your will. My “own thing” might be obviously sinful and selfish, or it might seem noble and valuable, but no matter what it is, it never gives that sense of “well done” that I hear from You when I obey. Thank You, Lord, for the Spirit of Christ that lives in my body and continually pushes me toward presenting myself to You to do Your will.