We are all familiar with sacrifices in life. Some sacrifices are large and significant; others are more everyday. Sacrifice could mean anything from forgoing the last piece of pizza for your friend to giving up a kidney for a family member , just like a member of our Energizer family did a while back.
Making sacrifices is a noble pursuit. As a nation, on ANZAC Day, we remember and honour the sacrifices made by thousands of service personnel throughout the various wars our country has been involved in. Parents sometimes remind their children of what the sacrifices involved in raising them.
We are about to celebrate the birth of Jesus; He was born so He could be a Holy sacrifice for humanity.
“And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.” John 17:19(NLT)
That Holy sacrifice is at the very core of Christianity; without it Christianity would not exist. So as Christians, we are very familiar with the concept and see it as noble. As we embrace a new era, I believe we will have a greater understanding of sacrifice.
Often we pursue and celebrate the various acts of sacrifice, but miss the real heart and motivation behind it and take on a martyr-type spirit. To make real and genuine, life-changing sacrifice part of our lives in a new era, we need to understand what God desires from us most.
Interestingly, He doesn’t ask for martyrs but, as King Saul found out, He rates obedience above sacrifice.
“But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to His voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22
Our submission to God and our obedience to His voice should be our sacrifice to Him.
Our submission to Him will always trump our various acts of sacrifice, which all too often, in our humanity, we live to resent. Submission to God brings freedom; seeking acts of sacrifice alone can become religious.
In our world I’m humbled by the amazing sacrifices you all make to see our church grow and lives impacted. Let’s keep making the source of motivation our obedience to His voice and submission to God, then we will continue to live in freedom and true joy.
See you at our services this Sunday and let’s keep making intentional pre-service prayer part of our culture!