As the year 2012 revs up, God keeps drilling the importance of sacrifice. True life is only found there. Sacrifice of self. Sacrifice of the temporary, the material, the mundane.
And ultimately, no life can come apart from Jesus Christ and his sacrifice.
"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Colossians 1:19-20
When it came to our peace with God, He gave up that which was most pure and precious--His only Son. As our pastor reminded us this past Sunday, "Jesus never said, 'I've done enough.'" He didn't stop short. He didn't quit sacrificing when it became unbearable. He gave up everything to bring us to peace with Him.
Reading the definition for sacrifice: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something
considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.
I realize that I often view sacrifice as something comfortable or temporary. "I'm going to sacrifice my birthday gift to buy something for someone else, I'm going to sacrifice my alone time--that I deserve--to play with my kids, I'm going to sacrifice my night out to help someone move...." But I don't think that's what God called us to when He said, "Follow me." Sacrifice seems to involve more than an inconvenience; it seems to imply a deeper surrender--one that would almost be painful? Peace doesn't come through a one-time relinquishing, but through a daily denial--a sacrifice of self for "a higher or more pressing claim."
“If his offering is a sacrifice of peace offering, if he offers an animal from the herd, male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the LORD." Leviticus 3:1f
People that are truly relinquished to the Lord "are known as givers, not takers. Non-churchgoers tend to see Christians as takers rather than givers. When Christians sacrifice and give wildly to the poor, that is truly a light that glimmers" (Crazy Love 140).