During many times of my life, I’ve felt that the Christian calling was such a sacrifice. In high school particularly, my immaturity screamed, But I want to do what I want to do no matter what my parents say. I reasoned that it wasn’t so bad every now and then. I had my adult life ahead of me to live more pruned.
During college years, I felt I’d miss out on some forms of “fun” and definitely certain weekend get togethers if I had to stick so closely to Christian rules and do not lists. In my marriage and parenthood, often choosing to lash out in anger and profess my impatience and frustration seems so much more satisfying than serving my family in love and self-control.
At times it simply seems like Christian living is harder than self-living. Some days, some moments, it can feel like I have to give up too much of what I want in order to live for Christ.
I wonder if Jesus ever thought that. As we think toward Easter, I wonder how hard He felt it was to die to Himself in order to live out the good, eternal purposes that God intended for Him. The Bible shows us that in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus wrestled with giving up His desires, laying aside His comforts to fully submit to God’s perfect plan for Him—for all of us.
My far from perfect self finds that comforting. My wanting to grow in Christ spirit-led new creation finds that convicting. If Jesus was willing to say yes to God over the ultimate sacrifice of giving up His innocent life for a guilty sinner like me, how much more willing should I be to conform to the sanctifying process in my life?
During this season of Lent, many people commit to giving something up for God. Essentially, they intend to model His sacrifice with a menial sacrifice of their own. I think, as believers, all of us should participate. But I don’t think the sacrifice we agree to should be small or short-lived.
What I love is that even though Jesus wasn’t particularly excited about the exact act God called Him to—a brutal criminal’s crucifixion—He found great joy in obeying His all-knowing, all-loving Father. Jesus modeled willing sacrifice that impacted eternity. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to cultivate that joy for walking out the paths of obedience God lays before each of us. Let’s commit to living entire lifetimes of willing sacrifice unto a Savior who fully deserves it.
Lord, help me to see that the holiness you call me to and work out in me is a privilege. Give me the courage and your power to do what you’re calling me to.