Do you think that sacrificial living is reserved only for those great saints we read about in the Bible and in the written records of history? Not true! Everyone lives sacrificial lives. 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 out all day long. We sacrifice for whatever has captured and taken control of our heart.
- 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
Remember that what rules your heart shapes your life. So . . . what are you sacrificing for right now? What is the shape of your life? The list of the things for which we willingly sacrifice could fill pages. The issue is not whether we are willing to sacrifice; rather, it is for what are we willing to sacrifice? Our first priority in living a sacrificial life should be found in our willingness 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. Our English word excruciating is drawn from the Latin root for to crucify. In Jesus’ day, crucifixion was reserved for only the worst of criminals; a Roman citizen, by law, could not be executed by crucifixion, no matter what the crime. As Jesus hung on the cross, broken and bleeding, the soldiers laughed, the spectators mocked, and His disciples hid. His history-altering sacrifice on Golgotha’s hill should inform, inspire, and ignite every sacrifice we make as His followers.
Jesus has called every Christian to live a cross-shaped life. “If anyone would come after me,” He said, “he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mark 8:34-35).
When we sacrifice in this way, we are no longer controlled by things that were never designed by God to control us. We fix our eyes on what is unseen, rather than on what is seen. We live for things above, rather than for things below. We live for the advancement of His kingdom, rather than for our kingdom. We lay our lives down for our Savior, rather than for ourselves, and we pursue His purposes and passions. When we do these things, we live sacrificial lives that echo in eternity.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!