Monday, November 17, 2008

Reasonable Sacrifice - Monday Manna

Today I am interrupting our current series so I can participate in

Monday Manna

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.
Rom 12:1 (NKJV)


Does being a "living sacrifice" sound reasonable to you?

The fact is, everyone is a living sacrifice. Athletes sacrifice years of hard work and pain to earn ribbons and medals. Businessmen sacrifice a lifetime to gain financial security. Children sacrifice years to learn in school, countless hours to get higher scores on electronic games, and nearly anything to establish their place in the world. Even the most selfish, lazy people on earth make endless sacrifices, because they are draining the lifeblood out of irretrievable years and opportunities on the altar of self-indulgence.

Parents sacrifice. Friends sacrifice. Soldiers sacrifice.

Why is being a living sacrifice to God, "reasonable service?" What makes Him worth it?

I have a sister who absolutely loves dogs. All dogs, but French Bulldogs most of all. It amazes me the sacrifices that she makes for those animals, whether they're her own, or whether they're foster dogs she's taken in for a rescue organization. She deals with a lot of paralyzed dogs, and thinks nothing of changing their diapers day in and day out for years on end, expressing their bladders if need be, going to great lengths to provide a custom homemade diet and the best medical care. She spends hours in online French Bulldog forums, drives long distances to rescue dogs from bad situations, and works in fundraising events. Honestly, there's no way I'd do it. It seems like "unreasonable sacrifice," because it wouldn't be worth it to me.

It's worth it to her, because the dogs themselves are worth it to her.

It's a love thing.

We sacrifice for what we love. And the more we love something or someone, the more reasonable that sacrifice seems.

So who decides what is reasonable service? We do, when we decide how much something is worth, and how much we love it. The problem is, we're not always very good judges of worth, nor are we always aware of just how much we sacrifice. Time slips away in front of televisions and computer screens, or is traded for any number of unimportant things, and we barely even notice. The hours turn into days, and weeks, and years, and before we know it, a lifetime.

Sacrificed.

In my 44 years on this earth, how many hours have I truly lived? How many hours have I spent in ways that matter? In the end, what will I have to show for the life that I've spent? How much of what I've accomplished will survive the fires of judgment? (2 Pe. 3:10-11 , 1 Co. 3:11-15)

Who decides what is "reasonable" sacrifice? Ultimately, God does. He tells us He's worth it. In fact, He's more than worth it (Rom. 8:18).

We're wise if we listen to Him. In fact, our souls may depend on it. Because saving faith has to be far more than simply assenting to facts about God, or about Christ. The demons know all about God. Far more than we will ever know on this earth. They believe all of these facts. They saw Jesus on the cross. They saw Him buried, and they saw His resurrection. If believing these things about Jesus is your definition of "saving faith," then you have to believe the demons are saved.

God forbid!

The problem is, the demons hate everything that they know about God. They hate His goodness, His power, His sovereignty, His holiness, His authority, His works, His ways, His expectations, His plans...everything. They have the facts right, but they do not have saving faith, because they do not trust in this God that they know. They do not believe He should have the right to rule, nor do they love Him or count Him as their treasure. Their goal is to depose Him, or at least to live as if He were not on the throne, and to lead humans to do the same.

By contrast, saving faith not only believes the facts about God and about Christ, but also rejoices in those facts! It not only assents to the fact that God is on the throne, but it wouldn't want it any other way!

Saving faith makes sacrifices, and counts them "reasonable," because it believes that Christ is worth it all.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (Mat 13:44-46)

Worth it all.

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (Php 3:8)

Reasonable sacrifice.

And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. (Mat 19:29)

Do I love the Lord enough, trust Him enough, have faith enough to sacrifice everything, and call it "reasonable?"

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Today's "Monday Manna" is being hosted by Joanne over at "An Open Book." Please drop by there for links to other thoughts on this verse, and be sure to leave comments if you were blessed.

12 comments:

LauraLee Shaw said...

"Saving faith makes sacrifices, and counts them "reasonable," because it believes that Christ is worth it all."

Wow, Betsy, positively anointed. Much to digest here, and it's the good stuff.

Sherri Ward said...

Betsy, this is really excellent! Such good teaching, thanks for sharing!
Sherri Ward

Laurie Ann said...

Great teaching and wisdom found here. The Scriptures you shared brought home the concept of a living sacrifice. I pray that I offer up the best to God and never stop.

Patty Wysong said...

Wow--such great thougths, Betsy!! I never stopped to think about all the 'sacrifices' we make for the things we count as worthwhile in our lives. Christ IS worth it all! Excellent! Thank you for that reminder!!!

Huggles!

Joyfull said...

I read this verse this morning, so your post was very insightful and though provoking and filled with God's truth. This blessed and encouraged me. Thanks for sharing.

dancinginthemargins said...

I'm so thrilled to see someone pointing out the "reasonable" part of this Scripture. I was going to write along those lines but last minute changed my mind.

Thanks for joining Monday Manna! Excellent post. Hope to see you playing along again. : )

-- Kristen

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, Betsy - this is incredible teaching that absolutely blessed and convicted me. Wonderful. Thanks so much for contributing to Monday Manna!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Awesome post, Betsy. You're right. We all make sacrifices for the things and the people we love. I'm caught in a struggle right now of knowing how to better love my God through my sacrifice. This is a timely and needed post. Much to think about per usual.

peace~elaine

JesusRulzMe said...

WOW sister! This is wonderful! I really loved how you honed in on saving faith, and not just a deceptive knowledge of God (like the demons) as being the vital life-saving, life-giving faith and trust in Jesus alone to qualify us to be made presentable to our holy, pure and just God.

Thank you so much sister!
Bless you richly!
Sunny

:: jamie :: said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I love your blog title & why you chose it!

Denise said...

Awesome.

reland1 said...

Absolutely lovely teaching.

Duliece CWTR

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