Something that has been a recurrent theme in my life and on my heart recently is sacrifice. I decided that meant I should take some time to see what God has said in His Word and what He wants me to hear on this subject…and now I am sharing it with you 🙂
A pretty basic definition (I am HUGE on defining words) is offering something of value to God.
Here are some verses to check out:
Genesis 12:1-11; 22:1-19
Sacrifice had a purpose — in fact 3 distinct purposes: cleanse from sin (Jesus paid this for us in His sacrifice of His life); show complete dedication to God; and then fellowship with God. Each of these required a different type of sacrifice.
I want to focus on the second part — showing complete dedication to God. One example of this would be God requiring Abraham to sacrifice his son. This is made especially clear in that Abraham had only one child, his son and they had waited and prayed for years and years to have him. Abraham willing went to sacrifice his son, to show his complete dedication to God. Wow. Of course, God stops Abraham and honors him for his dedication and provides a different offering in place of Isaac. It wasn’t the actual sacrifice that was important to God, it was the heart and motive — the complete dedication to God.
As shown in Leviticus, this theme continues. God told His people that when making their offerings and sacrifices, He wanted their best animal — not just any animal, a flawless animal, it couldn’t be sickly or weak. And when offering their grain offering — it was their first grains, not whatever was leftover. This not only showed complete devotion to God, as these were things of value but also of God’s place in their lives — FIRST. They offered God their best and they offered it to Him first, because they loved Him and they served Him.
Matthew 8:18-22; 10:39
Luke 9:57-60: As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” [My emphasis]
These verses are Jesus speaking about the cost of following Him. The cost of following Christ is to immediately be ready, we can’t wait until we are ready. He is calling us NOW.
Luke 9:24: For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
These are so powerful! What does it mean to “lose” our lives? I don’t think God is referring to death here. But giving our lives to Christ, in essence we are giving up or losing our wants and desires and using our lives to serve Christ and follow His will for us.
So, what is God challenging me and you to lose in our lives to His purpose? What is He calling us to sacrifice for His Kingdom?