Costly Sacrifice: Essential for Loving like Jesus
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Jesus made the costly sacrifice out of pure love. How much would we sacrifice?
- Would you miss a meeting in order to give someone a ride?
- Would you give away your lunch and go without?
- Would you donate a kidney?
- Would you use your body as a protective shield to save another from harm?
- Would you die instead of the fellow Auschwitz prisoner saying: “I would like to take his place?”
We can’t predict our responses to theoretical scenarios. After all, Peter swore he would die for Jesus and then denied ever knowing him.
More poignantly, “For whom would we sacrifice?”
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. Romans 5:7
Rarely indeed! It’s unfathomable. I doubt any of us “might possibly dare” to consider the option on behalf of anyone – good, bad, or beloved. So in this post let’s not consider giving our lives, but rather,
For whom would you make a personally costly sacrifice?
Would you sacrifice for a loved one? Yes, most likely, but I have to admit difficulty in choosing the smallest piece of cheesecake. Hey, it’s cheesecake!
For a stranger? Possibly, it depends on the timing, the risk and the cost.
The tougher scenario involves a total jerk. Do you have that one in your life?
The arrogant know-it-all who challenges your every suggestion?
The jealous neighbor who always one-ups you?
The annoying co-worker who pushes your buttons?
The smiling employee who says “Yes, of course” but ignores your instructions?
The argumentative, opinionated relative who shares your holiday meal?
The ungrateful, undeserving screw up who misuses your generosity?
What would you willingly sacrifice for that one?
Jesus answered the question perfectly.
He left behind the glory of heaven, the praise of angels, and equality with God. He limited his infinity to a human body and lived on this dusty planet. He didn’t use his power to his own advantage but became a lowly servant. (Phil 2:3-7)
And with this example, Paul tells us that our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil 2:3-7)
What did Jesus sacrifice for that one? He became obedient to death – even death on a cross. Jesus gave that one life.
Adding a few more amplified verses to the Romans passage we find that:
At the right time Christ died as a substitute for the ungodly. Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to willingly give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a good, noble, selfless, and worthy man someone might even dare to die. But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8 (Amplified)
Yes, we are that one.
We often reject God’s definitions for right and wrong.
We possessively hold onto his gifts, forgetting to express gratitude.
We accept his generous grace yet sometimes refuse to forgive others.
We are stubborn, rebellious, self-centered, undeserving sinners.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges us to love our antagonist and pray for our tormentor, reminding us that God’s sun rises on the evil and the good. His rain benefits the righteous and the unrighteous. Children of God must not be like non-believers who only greet people they like. Like Jesus, loving that one might mean passing up accolades, losing status, becoming vulnerable, risking security. (Matt 5:45-47)
Take heart! God knows we’re human – incapable on our own. Fortunately, the Holy Spirit transforms us to be more and more like Jesus (2 Cor 3:18). And being transformed is a process that takes time, a renewing of our mind, a willingness to be shaped by the Spirit. (Rom 12:2) Thank you God!
So pause right now and pray:
Ask God to bring to mind that one.
Ask him to reveal areas in which you hesitate to give of yourself.
And please share your stories of receiving or giving sacrificial kindness in the comments. Sometimes giving your time is a loving sacrifice.
If you feel like that one whom God can’t love, read about how his love is like the hunt and restoration of this old rusty car.
#SeedsofScripture #HolyWeek #humbleyourself #selfsacrifice #crucified #sacrificiallove #selflessness #servanthood #biblelesson #Christianlove #scripturestudy
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Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (NLT)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Amen ma’am. If I’m honest, I can’t answer “Yes” to every one of these scenarios. I pray that I won’t be faced with choosing death over accepting the mark of the beast as we know will come one day for many. I don’t believe (personally) that I’ll be here to make that decision. The reason I don’t is because of the number of times I have died to self to serve Him. Not nearly as many times as I should have mind you, but each time we say “Yes” to Christ, I believe heaven rejoices. Likewise, I think of each times I say “No” by giving into some temptation or sin, I strike another blow upon His nails. Reminding myself of that mental picture makes it easier to remember His sacrifice for my freedom. Do I not owe Him my all? As Paul said (paraphrased), “It is no longer my life, but Christ living in me.” God’s blessings my encouraging friend.
I wouldn’t say ‘yes’ either without His strength. I was in middle school during the cold war. I used to wonder if, when the Russians invaded, I would be able to answer ‘yes’ I’m a Christian. It was a scare tactic of my Christian school.
Oh, you’ve raised some challenging questions. I am incapable on my own but know He is able if I choose to surrender my will to His.
Yes, challenging and only possible with His Spirit’s strength and direction.
You offer some thought-provoking questions that help us evaluate ourselves. I can’t say how I would respond in all these situations, but I pray God would give me grace in the moment as it’s needed to imitate Christ.
The more risky the sacrifice, the more I’d need God’s strength. I recently read something that suggested our faith atrophies the more we fail to take risks in God’s name. We get comfortable, but I think we also miss opportunities to see God’s powerful hand at work.
It makes me feel good to think I could say yes to those questions but I can’t. None of us know how we would act in such situations. I pray for God’s strength if I ever face them. Thanks for sharing Cathy
We’d all like to think we’d be strong Yvonne, but the truth is we need strength from the Holy Spirit if we stand a chance.