Yes, I am said Sally confidently.
Sally works for a private company. This year she made up her mind to do something for Easter. Every year she starts on giving up something during this season but never continued till the end. Isn’t it hard to give up that delicious meal at a family gathering or the enticing chocolate cake in a restaurant? It is a challenge giving up what you like the most. Sally got chuckled when Kathy said she gave up arguing with her husband. For how long? asked Sally, Until Easter? I don’t believe in giving up something just for Easter said Linda, You will get right back into it after that. What’s the use? Most people give up things that they don’t like. One guy said he gave up vegetables. What a sacrifice!! People do all kinds of things in this season, some just to get attention and others to please God. But, anyway, is it a big deal giving up things for Easter? I don’t know. But Sally always had a desire to serve the Lord and she thinks that this is one of the ways to start with. She knows how much God blessed her. 2008 is very special for Sally. She got an unexpected promotion beginning of this year and her health is now under control.
Of course, one can argue that it is worth giving up something for God as this is a time of remembering God’s Sacrifice for us. We all know that God gave up His only begotten Son (ALL) to redeem us and Jesus gave up His Life (ALL) to save us from our sins. So, we would like to follow the pattern, in some small way, by giving up things at this time of the year. However, most of us choose to give up things that are easy and convenient but ignore things that need some sacrifice. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son, the most beloved to him. He wanted Abraham to love Him more than his own son Isaac. God wants us to sacrifice those things which are barriers to our love for Him.
What type of sacrifice is acceptable to God?
The Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14) was doing so many good thingsfasting twice a week and giving tithes. He does not have to go out of his way to give money because he was rich. Fasting is not hard if you do it regularly. What was hard for him was honoring his neighbor by giving up his pride. He could not tolerate the poor Publican standing beside him to pray. He despised the Publican so much that he was even thanking God that he was not like him. But God resists the proud and give grace to the humble (Pro 3:34; Jam 4:6; 1 Pet 5:5). In Rom 13:9-10, Paul says, all the commandments are summed up in one sentence, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’. God wants us to observe His commandments by genuinely loving each other. It would be useless to observe all the commandments without honoring your neighbor. All your good works will not count if you cannot give up your pride against your brother.
The rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22) was following all the Commandments from his childhood. He did not have to steal, nor bear false witness because he had great possessions. It was also not hard to honor his parents as he was not lacking anything. But Jesus said he was lacking ONE THING! He challenged the young man to give up ALL his possessions because He knew that these are his spiritual barriers limiting his genuine desire for God. But the young man chose to walk away!! His heart was deeply entangled with riches. What he did not realize was there is no comparison in trading worldly riches for what he would gain by serving the Lord! He had a good desire to attain eternal life but it did not help him much. Following Commandments will not count if you are not ready to give up your ALL to gain eternal life.
Paul says in Phil 3:8,
Yea, doubtless, and I count ALL things but loss for the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of ALL things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
Paul was willing to lose ALL to win Christ.
At this time of the year, ask yourself, what is that ONE THING that is hard for you to give-up for God? That would be the most perfect sacrifice acceptable to Him. Spiritual barriers could be different from person to person. Your spiritual barrier may be your money, comfort, pride, envy, jealous, malice, anger, bitterness, or anything that comes between you and God.
God has already provided you the POWER that you need if you have a genuine desire to surrender your life to Him. His Name would be glorified when we give up our ALL for Him.
May the Lord help us ponder on these things at this Season of Sacrifice and make a firm decision in our hearts. PRAISE THE LORD!