We must change the way we view sacrifice. Think for a moment about sacrifices you have made. Consider the result of those sacrifices. Unbelievers consider putting an end to clubbing as a negative sacrifice, but the result is an end to a lot of drama in their lives. Thereís no more waking up in strange beds, no more wondering what you did while you were drunk. No more chance of dying from an STD and the list goes on and on. As a Christian I consider all of those things victories! Letís look at the sacrifice of a sex life. When you decide to live a celibate lifestyle, the result is rebuilding your self worth and self respect. You end the formation of soul ties to people you donít even know or hardly knew at all. You end the pain that follows a one night stand or a relationship based on only physical attraction. You never again have to experience being used by someone for your body, then discarded when theyíre done. You sacrifice a few moments of physical pleasure and gain a whole new respect for yourself. You never have to try to cope with the heartache of the end of a relationship YOU thought was love only to find this person was not really the One for you. You find the hole you were trying to fill with sexual intimacy is no longer getting larger, but is filling with Christís love, peace and contentment. We should begin to view sacrifice with joy, and no longer with the usual negative connotation. Hebrews 12:2 tells us Christ sacrificed His life for the joy set before Him. Of course, He found no joy in hanging on that cross, but He knew the end result would be joyous. In that same light, because of your flesh, you wonít feel great about any sacrifice you make. So, the next time youíre faced with a sacrifice, take a moment to sit and write out the possible result of making that sacrifice. Iím certain youíll see the benefit far outweighs the loss.
Sacrificing your life, your flesh life, for God is the mirror of Christís sacrifice for you. We are called to be just like Christ Ė Christ-like. Philippians 2: 1-5 makes that crystal clear. Donít get it twisted, though, there is nothing we could ever do to repay Christ for giving His life on the Cross and taking our sins upon Himself. We can, in our own way, show Him how much we appreciate His tremendous sacrifice by sacrificing our lives Ė our plans, our wants, our fleshly desires Ė for Him.
Hear what Iím saying here. Iím not telling you to give up your dreams or the desires of your heart. What I am saying is the plans YOU make and the desires and wants birthed out of your carnal flesh instead of your spirit must all be laid aside for the plans God has for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says God has plans to prosper youÖ and Ephesians 3:20 adds He can do more for you than you can even ask or imagine! God is the God of Big. We are small men with small minds which conjure up small plans and miniscule, insignificant wants and desires. Change your definition of sacrifice and let the God of Big plan and execute your life and youíll find yourself living dreams you only kept in the back of your mind because you knew in your limitations you could never accomplish them.
My point about sacrifice is that if you mirror Christís sacrifice and give everything up for Him, He will give you the desires of your heart; the pure desires that come out of a life dedicated to pleasing God; desires that rise out of a pure heart cultivated by renewing your mind, seeking Godís face and determining in your heart to live a holy life fulfilling your creative purpose in an uncompromising, steadfast, reverent, obedient manner. Then and only then can you see the miraculous hand of God work in and through your life.