What is sacrificial living anyway? Why should we live that way? And what’s in it for me? Let’s find out. Jesus showed us by his example what it is to live sacrificially and we are called to be like him. Suffering and sacrificial living are not very appealing at the first glimpse. But could there be something deeper in it? Could there be some hidden blessings somewhere? Because…
When we embrace suffering, we enter into the mystery of God.
When we hang on to God even when nothing makes sense, we find peace.
When we surrender our will to God, we are blessed with grace upon grace.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” (Matthew 26: 36-38, CEB)
This is how it feels
when we are asked to die to ourselves.
This is how it feels
when we are asked to live sacrificially.
Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.” A second time he went away and prayed, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.” (Matthew 26: 39-42, CEB)
We are to pray until we are willing to surrender.
We are to pray until we are willing to say like Jesus “not what I want but what you want”.
We are to pray until we have peace.
Again he came and found them sleeping. Their eyes were heavy with sleep. But he left them and again went and prayed the same words for the third time. Then he came to his disciples and said to them, “Will you sleep and rest all night? Look, the time has come for the Human One to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let’s go. Look, here comes my betrayer.” (Matthew 26: 36-46, CEB)
Jesus prayed that God would take this cup of suffering away from him. “Suffering inflicted on Jesus by others had the appearance at least of being involuntary”, states Ralph Gorman. “The sufferings of Gethsemane, deep in his soul, could touch him only because he willed it, to give us courage in our own fears, to set us an example, to merit for us the grace needed in our own interior conflicts.”
Jesus chose to die for us.
Jesus surrendered his will to God.
Jesus set an example how to sacrifice one’s life for others.
Just like Jesus we are prepared to serve through sacrifice.
When we struggle with surrendering our will to God and living sacrificially, we wake with Christ Jesus is Gethsemane.
When we truly surrender our wills to God and live sacrificially, we receive peace, strength, and joy to do whatever we are called to do.
When we answer with “yes” to God’s call, we suddenly are equipped, blessed, and ready.
When we truly die with Jesus, we experience the joy of resurrection with Christ.
Then we truly become persons of living faith.
You are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. (1 Peter 2: 9-10, MSG)
We bring our struggles, our wills, our lives.
Guide us, bless us, strengthen us.
We want to die with Jesus,
Resurrect us with Christ.
Grace us with your presence,
make us persons of living faith.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Have you experienced the paradox of sacrificial living?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as God is making you a person of living faith.
Do you want to win a copy of the Common English Bible softcover edition? Just leave a comment and mention that you’d like to win. The winners will be announced on Wednesdays! All these CEB give aways are possible because I am participating in the Common English Bible Blog tour from Ash Wednesday all the way to Pentecost. This means that I will mostly be using the Common English Bible (CEB) on my blog posts. Let’s check out this fresh new Bible translation!
Image courtesy of Alfred Handel/photo toby Hudson via Wikimedia Commons. Linking up today with What’s on Your Heart Tuesdays & Soli Deo Gloria.