A Sacrificial Life
Sacrifice means, “to give something up for the sake of something of higher value.” Sacrificial living is to give up our own lives for the purpose of following Christ. Jesus modeled the perfect sacrificial life by giving His very life for the sins of mankind. It is this type of lifestyle, one that chooses to live for others instead of self, that models real love for people (John 15:12-14).
Sacrificial living is a daily decision, not a one time event. Paul urges us to, “…. offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).” We are to continually offer ourselves to God as living sacrifices as an act of worship to God for all He has done for us. He died for us! Living for Him is the least we can do!
Jesus reminds us that being His disciple means, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To follow Christ means that we must first deny ourselves. That is, give up all rights to our own plans, desires, dreams, and hopes for our lives and let God determine our future. It is an abandonment of self into the loving hands of God. Secondly, we must take up our cross daily. To the first century audience, the picture of a person carrying a cross meant that they were condemned to death by the Roman government. They had no future–only death. Jesus uses this picture to illustrate that this death to self is to be daily, not just a one time decision. Each and every day we must choose to live for Christ and not self.
Sacrificial living goes against the wisdom of this world. The world says to seek self-gratification. “If it feels good do it!” The implication being, if it doesn’t feel good, then it should not be acted upon. To choose to deny self in order to gain the opportunity to serve God is something that will be hard for others to understand.
Are you living for self or dying to self? It’s a daily, moment by moment choice and lifestyle.