Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 NIV
The offering of animal, plant or human life.
To surrender or give up or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.
Jesus sacrificed for us to become a sacrifice. This means He, Jesus, surrendered, permitted injury, gave up to become a human offering for you and me.
Matthew 16:24-26 reads,
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”
God has been speaking to me about personal sacrifice and what that really looks like in life, not just on paper! Giving up my personal desires to fulfill His. Living a sacrificial life at times makes no sense especially to the world around us, but I so desire to fulfill His will and not mine. If we want to see God move in our lives, often it will mean that we will have to sacrifice, whether that is time, energy, money or our gifts.
After much agonizing prayer, conversations with Peter, tossing back and forth wondering how I would juggle church, speaking engagements, family, friends and all the other responsibilities I have – I got casual employment. The position just happens to be in the city which is also my favorite place. God is good! Every morning when I wake I make a habit of making sure that the first thing I do is thank the Lord for the day and everything that happens in it. One morning I was travelling on the train into work, I had struggled to get out of bed, I was so tired, but I thanked the Lord for the day anyway. As I headed to the train my weariness took over my body, I began to physically ache all over. As I sat on the train I started to head down a deep dark corridor of doubt, that doubt started to overwhelm my whole world. I doubted that God had given me the job, I doubted His faithfulness, I even started to doubt my call! I allowed my mind, heart, and spirit to go to places that were nothing less than evil. In my lunch break that day I felt the Lord graciously speak to me, how much of your life will you sacrifice for Me? Is your life really Mine? My heart sank, I knew I had entered that place of self-pity allowing the enemy to speak to me and my ears were tickled by his doubt. I repented…
Then I heard His gentle voice say – I need someone there, I need you to be my hands and feet in there – listen and obey.
See, me getting work isn’t just about me but I had made it all about me! I am possibly acting on someone else’s prayer, see someone in my workplace needs to hear the good news of the gospel and that is the reason He has me there. He could have given us the money we needed but instead, He used this opportunity to position me where He wants me.
I desire my life to be a living sacrifice to Him but I know that it is going to cost me in every area of my life, I need to make sure my convictions are stronger than my selfish desires.
I encourage you today to live as a living sacrifice to Christ, dying to your selfish desires, emotions, and actions to live in complete freedom from this world to serve our majesty the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords – Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Jesus, please give us a courageous heart to walk in the path You desire us to walk, enable us to see You and Your desires above our own. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.