Sacrifice is an often forgotten word within today’s church circles, at least in America. This is, no doubt, partially due to the influence of our affluent and pleasure-centered culture. Oh Christians may speak of giving to the Lord’s work and serving, but how much of what’s being done involves any real sacrifice?
While the concept of sacrifice (by definition, the act of offering a life to a deity, or the act of giving up something valued for the sake of something deemed more valuable or worthy) is actually foreign to many today, many others including Christians tend to view it as undesirable. But the principle of sacrifice is woven throughout the Scriptures and is supported in the oft-quoted passage used in reaching the lost, John 3:16. Was not the Father’s act in sending Jesus to earth a supreme sacrifice? Was not Jesus’ willing death on Calvary’s cross in our place the ultimate sacrifice of love? Sacrifice, faith, and agape love are inseparable.
All the Levitical sacrifices were offered by faith and in obedience to the Lord. Therein is the key to finding joy and peace when living sacrificially – simply doing “whatever” unto the Lord. The Lord looks upon this kind of living as a sweet savor unto Him in either Testament. So, by fellowshipping with the Lord we are changed from a self-centered to a Christ-centered life, which is one of loving, sacrificial service.
The sacrifice of which we speak is not a deadly, irrational, one-time act, but rather, it is an offering of the totality of myself to the Master for whatever purpose He has and however He chooses to fashion and use me. This is what it means to follow Jesus.
How do we do this in practice? “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. And do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Living this life of sacrifice unto our God means that “we walk by faith and not by sight.”