I encourage you to embrace obedience which involves sacrifice
Modern attitudes lead people to believe that pleasures are a right, without having to sacrifice in order to have them. But not so with the children of God. The believer’s highest pleasures are found in Christ, with our many earthly pleasures falling secondary under His supremacy. This is because self comes second to Jesus Christ, therefore we live to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Consequentially, the follower of Jesus Christ accepts Jesus claim on their lives; “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The Lord never pretended that following him would not involve personal sacrifice and even times of suffering. Faith in Christ requires that believers take ownership of their commitment to walk in alignment with Christ.
While it’s easy to say that you want to follow Christ, it’s in your self-denial that you see authenticity of the claim. It’s the willingness to daily take upon one-self the cross of identification with the Lord Jesus Christ that truly marks the follower of Christ. Herein lies the Christ-centred motive for obedience to God. Christ “died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15).
As always, Christ is our supreme example, particularly as He obeyed His Father’s will at Calvary. “By the one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s (Christ’s) obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Likewise, we are to “walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
Amongst the many things Jesus accomplished when He died on the cross, was that He took the judgement of our sin in order that we could receive His righteousness. What a fantastic exchange! However, in doing so, Christ lead by example with the ‘exchange’ principle. We give up the old in order to receive the new. By faith in God, we sacrifice:
- Foolishness for wisdom
- Isolation from God’s people for fellowship in the Beloved
- The wrath of God for the peace of God
- Animosity and resentment for forgiveness
- Intoxication for sober mindedness
- Eternal damnation for eternal life
- Hatred for love
- Selfishness for selflessness
- Loneliness for assurance and security
- Faithlessness for faithfulness
- Regret for sweet memories
- Despair for hope
Most of us realise that we “are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness”? (Romans 6:16). The child of God chooses to give up the weak things in life in preference for the Lord’s ways. This is what marks us as Christians. Believers have exchanged the life of sin in order to “continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name” (Hebrews 13:15). We prefer that our lives should be an expression of praise to God over living for self.
I encourage you today, embrace obedience which involves sacrifice. The slight discomfort of surrender is nothing compared to the rich blessing of obedience through doing God’s will. God will be pleased, you will be blessed, and others will be encouraged.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz