Saturday, January 22, 2011

Character: A Spirit of Denial: a sacrifice to surrender

Before we look at this attribute of the Christian character, it's important to remember that God's Word repeatedly states that sacrifice is not His ultimate goal.  "I desire mercy and not sacrifice..." (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13);  "You do not desire sacrifice..." (Psalm 51) and many more.  This characteristic relates to a willingness to believe, to act on our belief and praise God as we do so.  Sacrificial living is a a natural outflow of the life of Christ--the One who sacrificed His very life that we might live.  It is not the entry to that life; it is the result of His sacrificial living and dying!

The words of Jesus gave the seed for this devotion:
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (Luke 9:23)

Denying self is the sacrifice we are called to and it looks different for each of us.  What is always the same, though, is that self gets us in a lot of trouble. We must sacrifice what flows from 'self':  our opinions, our desires, our sense of 'right', our preferences, our fears, our doubts.  Those are the sacrifices we are to bring to the altar and lay them before God with praise for Who He is (eternal, good, loving) and How He works (powerfully, perfectly, purposefully).  This is the transformation of our character into the likeness of Christ!  We are not saved by those sacrifices but we are given the privilege of being a blessing.  They are the key to walking in the 'good works' which God has prepared for us to do!  

God will speak to each of us about the sacrifice He has called us to do.  Ask Him to reveal in your heart the sacrifice that will produce abundant life for others and blessing for yourself.  The chapter I am working on my other blog speaks of sacrifice as well:  Abraham's offering of Isaac.  If the Spirit is pricking at your heart about this, perhaps you'd like to read that and ask for more insight from Him:

Family Chat:

What do you love the most?  Who gave it to you?  Do you love the gift more than Giver?  Who gives us every good and perfect gift?  James 1:17

Gifts become idols when they are valued more than the Giver.

Would you give that gift back if the Giver asked for it?  Genesis 22

What does God desire more than sacrifice?  1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13; Hebrews 9:9

Will sacrifices cleanse your conscience and bring salvation?  Hebrews 9:9; Isaiah 1:11; Malachi 3:3

BUT what kind of sacrifices can we give that will please God?  Deut. 33:19; Psalm 51:17-19; Psalm 107:22-24; Jonah 2:9; Hebrews 13:15

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