Archive for the ‘Sacrifice’ Category
“And He[Jesus] died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:17
This has always been one of my favorite Bible verses about sacrifice. It’s so poetic and simple. Jesus died for you so that you could be reconciled to God and have eternal life. Our response should be that we try and live for Him and for becoming more like Him. So many of us, myself included, want to just add God into our lives as just another thing that we do. We don’t want God to take over our lives and surrender control to Him. But if we really understood what grace was all about and how much better life is when allow God to be the potter and us the clay, we can’t help but want to live more and more for God’s plan for our lives.
But fear often gets in the way. I’ve experienced more than my share of fear and apprehension over God’s plan for my life. No one likes uncertainty, and we’re all afraid of what God will do with our lives if we really surrender and strive to live for Him who died for us and was raised again. That fear is something that each of us has do deal with. In my own life, I finally came to the realization that when I spend all my time striving after my own ambitions and desires, that I end up miserable. I have no peace, no contentment, no meaning in my life. It’s during those times that I realize that God could do no worse than what I’ve done for myself, and I fight through the fear and surrender control of my life to Him who died for me and was raised again. Fear is just something that each of us has to deal with. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be more afraid of what will happen if you spend all of your days striving after your own selfish ambitions and come to the end of your life and feel regret over how things turned out. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and feel regret. I know that the more I surrender my life and my plans to God, the less likely I’ll be to regret the choices and desicions I make.
“Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1
This has always been a really interesting Bible verse about sacrifice to me. There are a lot of elements in this verse worth talking about. First off, I find it really interesting that Paul says that we are living sacrifices and not just sacrifices. What does that mean? To me, being a living sacrifice means that I always have a choice. I’m constantly in decision on whether to stay on the altar or to get up and leave. Paul is saying that each of us has the choice. He’s pleading with us, starting off, “I urge you brothers.” That means that the choice is with each of us. Will we have the sacrifice and selflessness of heart to offer ourselves in service to God?
But probably the most interesting part of this verse is how Paul declares that when we sacrifice, it’s actual a spiritual act of worship. That’s pretty amazing. Most people consider worship to be sitting in church and singing a song or two. But what if real worship is really all about sacrifice? What if God doesn’t want to hear praises from a person that hasn’t surrendered or had the selflessness to offer their bodies as living sacrifices to Him? That would be something that all of us really would need to think about.
“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me[Jesus] will find it.” Matthew 16:25
This Bible verse on sacrifice often scares people. No one in their natural selves wants to lose their life or give up all of the things they enjoy. But is that what the verse is really saying? Is it telling us that the best Christian will give up everything and go off and live in a monastery somewhere? I don’t think so. So let’s see if we can go through it theologically and uncover exactly what the verse means. It says in Ephesians 2 that in our original state we are by nature objects of wrath who just want to follow the cravings of the sinful nature. God obviously doesn’t want to leave us in that state once we accept grace. It also says in Ephesians that once we accept grace that we crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
I believe that when the above verse says that when a person loses his life for Jesus, what they’re losing is their sinful nature, those parts of them that find pleasure in corrupt things. There’s definitely a possibility that we’ll have to give up a lot of the things that we really enjoy. But are those things really worth anything at all in the end anyway? Is it really worthwhile to be a person who does nothing but seeking to gratify the cravings of their own sinful nature? The part of this verse that we really ought to be focusing on is the part where Jesus says that a person who loses his life for Him will actually find his life. That should be inspirational. I want to find out what real life is all about — who I really am, and what kinds of things I was meant to do. To me, that kind of life is worth the sacrifice of not being able to chase after petty pleasures and wants anymore.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.” Psalm 51:17
It’s amazing to find Bible verses like this is the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, Israel was constantly offering animal sacrifices for their sins and didn’t know God’s full plan for salvation or that Jesus would come to take away the sins of the world. So that’s really interesting that David would realize that the thing that God really wants is for us to come to Him in humility and brokenness and be willing to surrender our lives to Him. Jesus told the parable of the two men who came to the temple to pray. One was a proud self-righteous man who thanked God that he was better than other men. Another man was a tax collector, who stood at a distance and wouldn’t even lift his eyes to Heaven, but begged God for forgiveness for his sins. Jesus said that the second man got forgiveness but the first man got nothing.
The same is true with each of us. In our natural selves, we are bound up in sin and have no power to overcome the cravings of our sinful nature or to bear fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, or kindness. When we come to God, we should come with him with a broken and contrite heart. It’s not because God delights in our misery. It’s just the only condition that can allow Him to work on our lives and change us. That’s why it says in another Psalm:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
But all of this requires quite a bit of sacrifice. To be willing to humble ourselves and come before God in brokenness and contrition is not an easy thing to do. But that is the sacrifice that God requires from each of us before His grace will really work in us to allow us to change and become the kind of people we were meant to be. Truly, it’s a small price to pay for how much we get in return.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
This is a famous Bible verse about sacrifice. It’s also one of the most convicting Bible verses I’ve ever read. The reason is because denying yourself to take up your cross daily is a very difficult task, and it’s required if we are to claim that we follow Jesus. Anyone who thinks this is easy is probably deceiving themselves. Let’s break this verse down into its two commands. The first command is to deny oneself. This is the lifelong struggle of anyone who has given their lives to the Lord. But when the verse says that we must deny ourselves, it’s not saying that we need to move into a monastery somewhere and deny all physical pleasures and desires. When the verse says that we must deny ourselves, it’s really talking about the sinful nature. The Bible says elsewhere that we need to crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires. We need to deny our sinful nature so that our redeemed nature can come out and shine.
The second part of the verse talks about taking up our cross daily. This can have multiple interpretations, but since this is my website, I’ll give you mine The Bible says that all of God’s laws can be summed up in one single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. The Bible also says that we ought to bear one another’s burdens in love. This, to me, is what it means to take up my cross daily, to love my neighbor and try and help him bear his burdens. The reason why I think that is because of the nature of what the cross is. When Jesus was on the cross, He bore our burden of sin. If I am to take up my cross, to me it means that I need to help bear the burdens of my neighbor and help lead him closer to God. But that’s just my interpretation. Either way, this is a great Bible verse about sacrifice and what we need to do to be selfless and grow closer to God.