Sacrifice means something dies.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, people brought their sacrifices throughout the year to atone (pay) for their sin. They couldn’t bring just any old broken up animal or lamb but they had to bring their best, one without spot or blemish. Thanks to Jesus eternal sacrifice on the Cross, we don’t have to do that anymore but we are to live our lives as a living sacrifice according to Romans 12:1-2. So here is the rub with all this sacrificial living. We are selfish! We don’t like to sacrifice! We want someone else to sacrifice for our selfishness! We want to bring sacrifices that don’t cost us anything or sacrifices that are broken or imperfect instead of bringing our best and giving it to the King of the Universe. We want others to sacrifice and for us to be the beneficiaries. It just doesn’t work like that.
Here are some examples:
“God, I believe that you are my provider and that you care for me but I need every dollar I have to pay the bills and I have no money to be obedient to you in giving.”
“God, I have trusted you to bring me the right spouse but you are taking too long and my clock is ticking and I need to take control and find someone before it is too late.”
“God, I will do anything you want as long as I can still live a comfortable life and be close to my family.”
“God, I can’t serve those people, they will never be able to pay me back and besides, they don’t appreciate it anyway.”
Do these quotes sound selfish? Of course they do because they are made without a heart to live sacrificially.
Jesus did not hold anything back when He came from a perfect place in heaven and entered a world that was riddled with sin and degradation. He showed what it was like to live a life of sacrifice as he walked the earth He had created. He gave the supreme example as He willfully went to the Cross for you and for me so that we could have Eternal Life and benefit from His pain and suffering. In comparison, anything we consider “sacrifice” is but nothing when we think about what He did for each of us.
As we approach Resurrection Day in just a few weeks, let us remember to not only appreciate His sacrifice but also live a life of sacrifice both personally and for others as we enjoy and experience His grace at work in us. A “living sacrifice” is more than just a phrase in Paul’s writings, it is a way of living life sacrificially in appreciation for his example of perfect sacrifice. It is trusting Him wholly and acting in faith as a result. It is doing His will, no matter what the cost. It is finishing well and hearing the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Let’s live sacrificially before God and in community with one another.