Do you think that sacrificial living is reserved only for those great saints we read about in the Bible and the annals of history? Not true! Everyone lives a sacrificial life. The question that must be asked and answered is this: For what are we sacrificing?
Each day is made up of countless personal sacrifices, from getting up early to staying up late and pouring ourselves out all day long. We sacrifice for whatever has captured and taken control of our heart. And remember, as I have said before: what rules the heart shapes the life.
- We sacrifice on the job.
- We sacrifice for our families.
- We sacrifice to build our retirement.
- We sacrifice to buy that special outfit.
- We sacrifice to be able to fit into it.
- We sacrifice to go on that dream vacation.
- We sacrifice to get an education.
So . . . what are you sacrificing for right now? What is the shape of your life? Each of us could create a lengthy list of the things we willingly sacrifice for. So the issue is not whether we are willing to sacrifice, but rather, for what are we willing to sacrifice?
Our first priority in living a sacrificial life should be found in our desire to sacrifice for the One who willingly sacrificed Himself for us.
The soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and let him away to crucify him.
The sacrifice of our Savior was as radical as it was scandalous. There was no worse way to die than to be nailed to a cross; we get our English word excruciating from the Latin word for crucify. Under Roman government, crucifixion was reserved for the vilest of criminals—and never for Roman citizens, who by law could not be executed by crucifixion. As Jesus hung on the cross, beaten, bleeding, and gasping for each agonized breath, the soldiers laughed, the spectators jeered, and His disciples hid. Christ’s sacrifice on Golgotha’s Hill—which is the singular punctuation point in all of history—serves to inform, inspire, and ignite every sacrifice we make as His followers.
Jesus has called every Christian to live a cross-shaped life. When we do, we are no longer controlled by those things that were never designed by God to control us. We fix our eyes on things above rather than earthly things (Colossians 3:2). We live for the advancement of His kingdom rather than our kingdom. We lay our lives down for our Savior, pursuing His purposes—rather than for ourselves, pursuing our passions.
When we sacrifice for the Savior, we live lives that echo in eternity . . . lives that will receive the ultimate acclamation: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!