As I examine the scriptures it is easy to find the word “Sacrifice.” I think about how Jesus’ eternal sacrifice changes the eternal destiny of all who believe. It is humbling to think that God loved me so much that He was willing to leave His place in heaven to take the weight of all the sin of the world on his shoulders. Ephesians 5:2 talks about how Jesus’ sacrifice was a sweet smelling aroma to God. So beautiful, so powerful, so humbling, and so complete was the work on the cross.
If we take time to read the truth in God’s word, I am confident you will be called to greater heights of Sacrifice that will transform the way you live.
- The Power of Sacrificing your Past
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
When we become a Christ-follower our life should be radically different than our life before Christ. Too often we justify our behavior, attitude, and even our character traits saying, “That’s just who I am” or “I’ve always been that way.” We need to realize our past hurts, hang ups, and habits were crucified with Christ. He has radically forgiven you of your sin and you are a new person with new behaviors, attitudes and even a new character that will reflect Christ if you allow Him to transform you through the work of His Holy Spirit. So many people live in shame and are held captive by their past. I want to urge you to lay your shame and guilt at the foot of the cross and embrace the fact that you are a new creation. Christ not only paid the ultimate Sacrifice, He also conquered death and rose victoriously. Because of this, I want to encourage you to live like you are winning! Put your past behind you and press forward to what’s ahead.
- The Power of Sacrificing your Preferences
Acts 15:18-19 “Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God…”
So often we hinder the progress of the Gospel because we are hard headed and stuck in our ways. At times we can allow preferences in traditions, style of music, programs, comfort level, customs and even culture to keep us from putting the kingdom of God first. In the verse above, James is encouraging the early church leaders not to TROUBLE (can also be translated ANNOY) those who are turning to God with their preferences. So if you use the phrase, “But we have never done it that way” I would challenge you to reconsider your position. My prayer is that you will examine your heart and pray about sacrificing your preferences for the sake of disciple making.
- The Power of Sacrificing your Lives
Philippians 2:7-8 “but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”
When we begin to understand the depths in which we have been forgiven, the things of this world seem less and less important and the kingdom of God becomes the central focus of our lives. I want to challenge you to think about the following questions in relation to your life:
- Are you willing to sacrifice some extra sleep so you can have time to read the Bible?
- Are you willing to change jobs if the Lord leads you to, even if it means making less money?
- Are you willing to reach out to your unsaved neighbor?
- Are you willing to move into a different part of the city that is unreached for Christ?
- Are you willing to move to a different country to share the gospel with those who have never even heard the name of Jesus?
- Are you willing to change your standard of living to allow you to tithe and give more to those in need?
- Are you willing to give your life?
I know it might seem “radical” to do these types of things, but I truly believe this is what following Christ is all about- being willing to give up everything for the sake of Jesus. So as you approach scripture daily, approach it with humility and a heart that is willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to expand the kingdom.
— Chris Fetters