I remember this day pretty clearly, my husband’s 25th birthday party. I was there, but I had a blind date that night so I was going to have to leave early. Mike’s mom kept giving me this look, because she believed that we should be dating. In her defense, she saw something that we hadn’t seen at that point. However, before I left I went up to him and said If you don’t want me going, you need to tell me. He said that he wanted me to go, because he wanted me to be happy.
Some may have seen that as weakness, but let me tell you, there is something to be said when someone gives up their desires for the happiness of another. That act of sacrifice really could have been the end of the story. But it wasn’t.
Little did he know that a month later we would be dating, 8 months later engaged, married a year and a half after that, and now over 5 years later having 2 amazing children.
He probably also didn’t know that the sacrifice would continue. He knows that I need more sleep than him, so lately his acts of sacrifice have been him giving up sleep, so I can get better rest.
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
There is this saying that goes something like this: Never preach a sermon that you wouldn’t preach to yourself.
And for bloggers, it’s the same. never blog about something that you wouldn’t write to yourself. That is what happened a couple weeks ago. I wrote a blog about sacrifice for Blogs by Christian Women, it will be posted in a few weeks. When I wrote it, I felt like God had given me so much, and I wondered why I would write about sacrifice when I hadn’t really given anything up.
That was until the day after I submitted the post for edits. It was that day that He asked me to give up what I thought He had given to me, what I thought had been answer to prayer.
And, there I was making another decision that in some ways, again, doesn’t make sense. Story of my life lately. But well, faith starts where logic ends.
You can’t do that! Give up something else, that is too hard for you.
That is not what I expected to hear when I told my husband what I was giving up for awhile. I think he may have missed the scripture that says “I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” Friends, let me tell you something, if you are ever thinking of fasting, and someone says that to you or you think that… then that is exactly what you should give up. Hands down, no question. Give it up. You don’t need to consider it, you don’t need to pray about it. If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice.
Sacrifice: the act of offering to God something precious.
I asked a friend of mine to join me in the fast, and without a pause she said yes. I asked her to give up something hard too. True friends, though, will sacrifice the hard stuff for you. Just like our truest Love sacrificed the most precious thing for you. That is what happened on the cross, Jesus submitting to the will of the Father. Any sacrifice that we could ever offer pales in comparison to what He endured for our eterntal life with Him, on the cross.
I bet His sacrifice may have looked like the end of the world, yet it was the gift of new life. If I was there, and witnessed His death, I probably would have thought to myself What just happened?
Exactly. What just happened?! Death defeated. The grave empty. Beauty, in the most painful way, because of the ultimate sacrifice.
But, God. Jesus alive.
Beautiful one, He couldn’t rise from the dead until He layed down His life. He can’t resurrect what isn’t layed down in sacrifice.
His death wasn’t the end of the story.
You couldn’t see Him yet, but He was there. He was expected to be great. And He was. Great in the most beautiful way possible, not because of anything else except for submitting to the will of His Father. Unabandoned sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice may seem costly, but it’s not as costly as disobedience.
What do you need to sacrifice? What has He been asking to sacrifice in your walk with Him? Lay it down. His death wasn’t the end of the story. Sacrifice isn’t the end of your story.
This coming Wednesday is a special day. Valentine’s Day, but also the beginning of lent. It is a day when many people will choose to sacrifice something leading up to Easter. A day when we sacrifice something as we reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made.
This year, I want to challenge you that when you make your sacrifice, may it be something that is hard, that is costly, and that it is only done out of your love and devotion to Jesus.