Maintain an attitude of cheerful willingness and eager readiness to sacrifice one’s time, resources, convenience, and opportunities – one’s entire life – for the good of others out of a love for God and people
It’s one thing to serve others, it’s something else to make sacrifices for them. We can serve and feel good about serving but have as an unspoken filter for our service the point at which sacrifice is involved. Serving can be fun and feel good, but there inevitably comes a time when it is most definitely not fun, and rather than feeling good, we feel pain of one kind or another. Christ’s service to others ultimately cost him his life. This was not a sacrifice he “felt” like making, as is evidenced by his prayer in the garden (see Matthew 26:36-46). Likewise, Paul described the intense sacrifices he made when writing to the Corinthians: “I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.” (2 Corinthians 11:27). The authentic follower of Christ will “lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). We are told later that such sacrifice is evidence of authentic love: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” (1 John 3:16). This may or may not be the actual laying down of our lives physically, and in most cases, it’s not. It is for this reason that Scripture tells us to take up our cross “daily” (Luke 9:23). The one who authentically loves God and people will not only serve when it’s convenient and when it fits with their personal agenda for their lives. They will sacrifice their personal agenda and make their agenda God’s agenda. This will be simultaneously rewarding and challenging, but in it is the very life Christ came to give. Jesus made this clear when he said that “whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:33). We must not just look for opportunities to serve others in ways that have natural appeal or are self-fulfilling. We must be willing to put our desires and preferences on the cross daily, and in so doing, come increasingly into the authentic life Christ came to give.
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Signs You're Living It Out
Can name a personal desire sacrificed for another over the past week
Has wrestled with God over meeting a specific need and moved forward with doing so despite personal preferences
Can identify a service opportunity engaged in the past three months not for recognition, relationship, or reward, but where compelled by God to engage it
Can identify a time in the past 3 years when a financial sacrifice—giving beyond comfort—was made for another
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This bible study gives a holistic look through Scripture at the Sacrifice outcome. Engage thought provoking questions for individual reflection and then discuss them in your Life Group or Spiritual Running Partner relationships.
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