Sacrificial living

Jesus on the cross

Compared to him, is our sacrifice really that great?

In my previous post, I talked about living a sacrificial life, which is something I would like to look into a little further. When discussing living a life of sacrifice there seems to be a certain stigma that is attached to it. Saying how Christians should or should not do this or that often yields moans and groans, and maybe even an “I don’t care, I’m going to do what I want to do.” This is clearly a wrong mindset and a paradigm shift must take place regarding living before God.

The first thing we need to realize as Christians is that we are not our own. The Church, which every Christian is apart of, is Christ’s blood-bought possession, of which he is the head. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 echoes these sentiments: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were brought at a price. Therefore honor God with you body.” Now, in this particular instance, Paul is addressing the sexual immorality of the Corinthians. We know, however, that being Christ’s possession entails more than just abstaining from sex.

Romans 12:1 implores us to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” This transcends, but does not ignore, our vow to celibacy and requires that we strive to please God in everything that we do. The next verse in Romans gives us further instructions:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Living a life of sacrifice requires that we lay our old mindset on the altar. Well, why do we have to change the way we think? The answer is given in the same passage. We cannot possibly “test and approve” God’s will while still carrying around our old mindset. Incidentally, his will is that we would not conform to the world’s pattern, but be a people set apart for his glory.

We are a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that (we) may declare the praises of him who called (us) out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Christians are instructed to “not be yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14), simply implying that we be distinguishable from those that do not follow Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3 even says that “we do not wage war as the world does”; conforming to an old (worldly) mindset hinders us from having the divine power to demolish strongholds.

Most of all, the world mindset is a way of thinking that is contrary to that of God. James 3:4 explains that “friendship with the world is hatred toward God,” and “anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” Serving God, then, means be a slave to righteousness as opposed to a slave to sin (Romans 6:16), which is the spirit of disobedience that is at work in the world (Ephesians 2:1-3).

God’s will is also that we have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10), not only eternally, but also in this finite existence (Psalm 27:13). Being eligible for the promises of God requires that we acknowledge Christ as our owner, crucify our old mindset, and sever our friendship with things of this world. Ultimately, Jesus gives his requirement for living a life of sacrifice in Matthew 16:25, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

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~ by christianballenger on May 6, 2011.

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