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Posts Tagged ‘living sacrifice’

Tomorrow evening, my husband and I will be taking part in the annual commemoration of Christ’s death for us: Passover. As I prepare for this Holy Day, of course, I think about Christ’s ultimate sacrifice: His death by crucifixion. Whenever I think of Christ laying down His life, it is this final sacrifice that first comes to mind.

This year, however, I have come to realize anew that Christ laid down his life on earth as a living sacrifice: long before He died on the cross, He had given away His earthly life for the sake of those He came to save. The accounts of His ministry record travel, constant teaching, loss of reputation, bearing of insults, healing, comforting, encouraging, correcting. His sleep was disturbed (Matthew 8:24-25), His privacy interrupted  (Matthew 14:13), His name scorned (Mark 3:20-22). He did all these things, all the while knowing that those He served would, in His hour of need, desert Him.

My change in perspective regarding how Christ laid down His life made me look at Paul’s instruction in Romans 12 differently, too. Paul writes that we ought to present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). He continues in the vein of how we should live our lives: not conformed to the world; using the gifts God has given us for the benefit of others; acting in love, humility, diligence, patience, repaying no one evil for evil, living at peace with one another.

I find that I am far more likely to be willing to make big sacrifices than little ones. If I have to massively rearrange my schedule, or change where I’m living, or do something extremely challenging, I can at least feel noble about it. At least in my own head, I can label that a sacrifice and feel good about it (and honestly, because I’m human, even a little smug about it; “Look what I’m doing! Aren’t I so awesome to do this!”). It is the rest of Romans 12, the rest of the Bible, that I struggle with. To be treated unfairly without making a big fuss? To let someone else have honor instead of me? To speak patiently and kindly to people who are provoking or rude? To be diligent at work, even when the task seems tedious and pointless? To give up my time to help someone else, when I have things of my own to attend to?

Those smaller sacrifices are much harder for me to make, because they don’t really feel like sacrifices as much as just, well, unfair. And yet when I read Romans 12, when I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’s life, it becomes clear that this is God’s expectation of me. God expects us to follow the example of His only begotten Son, who lived a life of constant small sacrifices so that we—who didn’t deserve His kindness—could have the opportunity of salvation. If we bear His name, we are called to live that same life of small sacrifices.

This year, as I prepare for the Passover, I am thinking about the small sacrifices that I need to embrace with more diligence. I may never be called to lay my life down in the ultimate sense; but I—along with all Christians—am called to lay down my life in small daily sacrifices which are, as Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:5, “…spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Let us embrace the opportunity to offer these sacrifices because of our love for our Redeemer.

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