Sacrifice is painful. Any way you cut it, when some animal, some person, some possession, some activity or some desire is sacrificed – it means pain. Sacrifice is trading something that benefits you for something that benefits others.
· It can be painful to bunt or to hit a high fly ball to center field knowing that you are certain to get out just so you’re sacrificial out can give some other runner a chance advance one base. But you do it for the team.
· It can be painful to forego getting what you really want to eat at the diner in favor of using your limited dollars to stretch a bit and also pay for the meal someone else wants as well. But you do it because you care.
· It can be painful to work extra jobs and overtime on nights, weekends and holidays just so that your siblings can get through college. We may not complain but it would be wrong to imagine it’s not a sacrifice.
· Sacrifices are made daily by so many who unselfishly give of their time, their talents and their resources to benefit others in ways they can never repay.
· Sacrifices provide some reward but they always come with a cost and costs are normally painful.
· Personal sacrifice means putting someone else first.
· Sacrifice is a choice … unless it’s a choice, it’s not a sacrifice but it’s just a loss.
It can also be a sacrifice when we choose to be kind to those who deserve our wrath. It can be a sacrifice when we choose to love instead of withdraw and despise. It can be a sacrifice when we decide to put others first and bear their burden instead of retaliate and leave them to their own devices.
It can be a sacrifice to praise God in the midst of trouble or to challenge ourselves to give or forgive. Many times God counts our choice to be like Jesus as a sacrifice. He knows what it cost us to live a different life than those around us. He encourages us to be a light of hope to a world sitting in darkness and He appreciates it when we do.
When writing about this to the current day Christians living in the biggest and most important city in the whole world the Apostle Paul said:
Romans 12 NKJV
1 ¶ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
20 Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This year God is speaking to us and helping us to begin putting First Things First. Our first priority this year is to begin examining ourselves …
· Who is on the throne of your life?
· Are you becoming a living sacrifice for others?
· It begins with a simple decision …
· Polish yourself up and begin to shine for Christ!
Putting First Things First
1. Offer yourself in prayer as a living sacrifice unto God.
2. Begin to renew your mind to God’s
3. Decide to not be overcome with evil but rather, overcome evil with good.