In the Christian life, sacrifice should be common place (or at least we would think).
And we could even venture to say that every Christian would gladly sacrifice something for Christ’s sake. I don’t mean Old Testament kind of sacrifices, where animals were brought to the priests to be offered to God. Because now, we live under grace that Christ provided when He died and rose again to pay for our sins and give us a new life. I simply mean the kind of sacrifice Jesus spoke of when He said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Are we willing to deny our own will? Would I really lay aside my own desires for God’s greater purposes? To be honest, we all have agendas of our own. Want certain things in this life. Want life to go a certain way. But God calls us to follow Him and keep our eyes on Him at all times. Sometimes God asks us to do or not do something and it contradicts our will. But at that point in time, would I actually be willing to offer up my will to God’s? Sacrificing what I want, so God’s will is done instead?
As I read some of the Old Testament (and even as we study some of these same passages in my Intro to Christianity class) I found some shocking and appalling stories where parents sacrificed their own children by burning them in fire (some examples can be found in these verses: Ezekiel 23:37, 2 Kings 16:3 and 2 Chronicles 28:3). What would possess a man to sacrifice their own flesh and blood, but not even just that, but to a false god?? Thankfully, our God doesn’t require such sacrifice. But we can learn from these people. If they were willing to kill their own children for a fake god, (who never performed any miracles) to demonstrate their gods existed, why is it so seemingly hard to offer our will to the true, living, faithful God who did EVERYTHING to prove He was not only real but loving and merciful?
Samuel reminds us that obedience is better than sacrifice in 1 Samuel 15:22 “…to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.” So this then is a higher plane of living; this asking us to obey. Because if you think about it, any one can give something physical (car, house, boat, money), but it is definitely much harder to give of your inner self (desire, will, love, forgiveness).
But even for those days when we just feel that we could give God everything, no hesitations, no thought required, it still will cost us something. Our willing sacrifice of internal self to the Lord, will cost us something. And if it doesn’t cost anything, is it even worth giving to God?
So denying “self” is a sacrifice that’s pleasing to God because when we do so, we demonstrate to God that He comes before us. We even pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s the goal in life; for His will to be done and for us to be used (which means we have to let ourselves go).
TO THE KING!!