Romans 12:1,2 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. 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.

Have you ever heard the saying, he or she is a real “basket case”? In 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, the apostle Paul ends his credentials of being a genuine follower of Jesus Christ by referring to the time when he was let down the side of a wall in a basket to escape the wrath of those who wanted to do him in. From the very outset of his ministry to the end, there was never any letup to the afflictions and opposition he faced in his ministry of preaching the gospel and making disciples. You and I may not be called by God to face the same degree of challenges and opposition that Paul did, but we are all called to deny ourselves daily, pick up our crosses and follow Him. We are all called to endure difficulties and forgo conveniences for the cause of Christ and to care for one another.

The vast majority of Christendom today is far removed from the biblical example of sacrifice and care that was exhibited by the early followers of Jesus. If there is one word that is sorely lacking in today’s church, it is the word sacrifice. It is both a noun and a verb. It describes the action of being a living sacrifice, of giving up oneself, for the cause of Christ and for the sake of others. All of Paul’s “credentials” were incidental things that he faced in the pursuit of the spreading the gospel and the daily care of all the churches. Because Paul knew the sacrificial love of Christ for him, he sacrificially cared for Christ’s bride, the Church.

What are your sacrificial credentials of being a follower of Jesus Christ? Selah