I have been in a few conversations lately where the word sacrifice was used, and I am very concerned about how the word is misused. Since sacrifice is connected with religion, I went to the KJV Dictionary which defines sacrifice (n); to offer to God in homage or worship, by killing and consuming, as victims on an altar; to immolate, either as an atonement for sin, or to procure favor, or to express thankfulness; as, to sacrifice an ox or a lamb. 2Sam. 6 (17-19). I believe we completely miss the mark when the word sacrifice is used as a self-centered attention grabber. Too many Christians confuse sacrifice with the obligation of following a covenant, where the giving of something to express thankfulness is offered. Some view good works as a sacrifice, when in fact, believers have been commanded to do so, Mark 12:31. Many repress God’s glory when speaking of sacrifice, as they no longer view serving Him as a privilege and honor. Far too many Christians have learned to interpret sacrifice as any uncomfortable task God assigns. “Really!” Explain that to Jesus! As He only asks that each believer be a reflection of Him.
Looking at John 15:12-14 (ESV), “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you”. I confess I’ve had this all wrong for years because I looked at it as physically sacrificing one’s life for another. Then God showed me, that it isn’t speaking only of literally dying for another, it is the laying down of my old lifestyle and beliefs so that He may bring others into His life eternal. Now, for me that was a biggie, God gave me the privilege to bury the old man and live as a new man in His service. No more wondering in doubt and confusion as those dreadful dreams of physically dying left my mind and God’s magnificent peace took charge. I now understand that me dying to self (giving Him control) creates this impartation of, “from He - to me - to thee.” He dwells in and works through me!
Today while reading the scriptures dealing with this blog, it occurs to me that physical death has no power, as I am experiencing the hardest death I’ll ever know, which is dying to self. This is written in Galatians 2:20 (ESV), I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. As I am of this world and with me every second of every day, I feel obligated to appease my fleshly desires. However, I quickly realize I cannot defeat the power I’ve given my humanness, being overwhelmed I give in! “BUT GOD” has the power to overcome that which I cannot. He alone empowers me to be His witness and overcome this flesh so that others may catch a glimpse of His loving nature. Thank you, Jesus!
This is where I must feast on Romans 5:8 (ESV), But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Believing that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God (which is scriptural), Jesus gave His human life as a physical sacrifice to atone for all sin. His resurrection opened the only doorway to God, exampling physical death as a real consequence of sin. Think about this, death is merely a shedding of this cumbersome shell that has brought suffering, trials, sickness, and pain, to enter a new existence of blissful harmony with the creator. God loves us that much! He gave Himself as Jesus, a 100% human man, to serve as the road map for this life. The life we lead is someone’s roadmap and people today seemingly minimalize the responsibility through their pitiful demonstrations of service.
True sacrifice can only come from love, just as Jesus though innocent chose to die a horrible death on the cross as the final living sacrifice required for sin. He bore witness to an unimaginable love in service of all. The same can be said about Romans 12:1 (ESV), 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. Living a life of following Jesus will grow one’s love into that sacrificial love that God desires for His people. So, the next time you think sacrifice, examine it for the praise and worship of God Almighty!
Father, may we live what is written in Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV), Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Help our lifestyle to reflect praise, and worship of you. Help us to not seek credit for personal sacrifice, believing that you see each deed as it takes place, and rewards await our arrival! Father, bring us the desire for a clear vision of you, from you, each day to end any confusion and doubt. Amen
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK BY BEING A BLESSING TO OTHERS!
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