Sacrifice

   What are you willing to die for? This is a question we must ask ourselves. Not so we can find what we can die for but so that we can find what we can live for. The point of the question is not death; it is what we value above our own lives. When we find the answer to this question we find what we can truly love and live for. I project to you that there are at least two things worth living and dying for: our faith in Christ and our family and friends.

   Is your faith in Christ worth dying for? There are many heroes in Scripture that thought it was. Think of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. When faced with a choice of obeying God and facing a fiery furnace they chose obedience and the furnace. Daniel 3:16-18 says, “[They] replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”  They had found something they were willing to die for.

   Let’s move from the Old Testament and into the new and consider Paul. He had also found something worth dying for. He was nearing the end of his ministry but he knew he needed to go to Jerusalem even though the Holy Spirit warned him there were going to be hardships there. Paul said in Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” To Paul the gospel was worth far more than his very life. He had found something worth living for.

   Are your family and friends worth dying for? We have several examples in Scripture that show they are. In Genesis 14:11-16 we read of a situation where Lot was captured by enemies. When his uncle Abram heard this he took “318 trained men” from his own household and rescued Lot. Abram risked his life to rescue Lot. He had found something worth living and dying for.  

   In 1 Samuel 18: 1-4 we read of the friendship between Jonathan and David. Although Jonathan was in line to be next king he put down his right knowing David would be the next king. This is true love. More than one time Jonathan disobeyed his father’s evil command to kill David even at the risk of his own life. He warned David and saved his life. 1 Samuel 20: 18b says, “[Jonathan] loved him as he loved himself.” He had found something worth living and dying for.

   Now here is where it gets personal. Most of us probably won’t have to face the situations we’ve been talking about; the situation of giving up our lives for our faith, family and friends. However if we say we are willing to do so are we showing it in our daily lives?

   We say we are willing to die for our faith, but are we daily dying to self and allowing God to guide us? Every day we should have the attitude of “Lord your will, not my own.” As we learn more and more to die to self and let Jesus live in us we will find what true life is. We die to self to find life.

   We say we are willing to die for our family and friends but are we showing that on a daily basis. Do our actions show them that we are willing to die for them? In other words do we treat them with love which shows we are willing to be selfless toward them? 1 John 3:16 says “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.” True love requires sacrifice. Are you willing?

   So I ask you again: what are you willing to die for? When you find the answer to this question you will find something worth living for.

   That Other's May Live,

   Joseph