A wonderful friend of mine read my recent post entitled Bind Me Tighter, Lord. She told me how impacting it was to her and how it changed her view of being an Isaac for the Lord. From that conversation, I realized a misunderstanding I think most of us share. I know I have certainly struggled with this in my walk. So I wanted to expand on this truth of the Kingdom, which is a little understood fact.
The word sacrifice usually harkens up a fearful, looming dark presence. Sacrifice translates into pain, suffering, loss and even can be a punitive action. We usually take it as “I have to sacrifice because I’ve done something wrong.” Or it might be “I have to sacrifice in order to get something better.” But regardless, the negatives outweigh the positives when we think about sacrifice.
I want to shed a new light on the word sacrifice, especially when the sacrifice is us. I’m not referring to missions in dangerous countries or other equally dramatic and life-threatening calls. I’m talking about what it means to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:12-13). Until we are His, we are wounded, festering, dangerous creatures. And God divinely appoints people to shine His light on us – to love us into seeing Him. God’s own Life-Flight, if you will, out of our desperate situation. These people suffer painfully at our hands in order to reveal Him; they are the target for our rage and bitterness and vengeance and fear. They are a living sacrifice, asked by God to lay down their life to bring me – and you – to Him. This is sharing in the sufferings of Christ (I Pet. 4:12-19).
But here’s where the new light upon the situation comes in: God only chooses to sacrifice those He cherishes, loves and most delights in.
Throughout all the Bible, God trained His people to give their best as the sacrifice. He required from His people the choice, the premium, the first. You didn’t bring a spotted lamb, you brought a pure lamb. You didn’t bring a sick cow, you brought a perfect specimen. So if the Lord requires this of us, His children and servants, would He not also require this of Himself?
He’s not an unjust judge, He’s righteous. And in that righteousness, He holds Himself to the same standards that He requires of us. When Jesus came as sacrifice for our sin, He came as a sinless and perfectly yielded man. Jesus was the most excellent of all human specimens to lay the sins of the world down once and for all.
Now today, God will often send His children – prophets, apostles, teachers, mature believers, etc. – to be the sacrifice. There are people that are bound and trapped underneath the weight of sin, and God will sometimes send one of His vessels in to rescue them from their entanglements.
Now whom does He choose? He chooses the ones He delights in. He chooses the treasured ones – the highly loved ones – He gives His best! So if you are one of the ones that the Lord chooses as a sacrifice, maybe for your family or for your spouse or for your neighbor, let me shine a light on who you are as you go. You are a favored one, you are choice, you are His delight, one who is loved and brings Him joy.
So why would He send someone who He loves so much into a situation that could potentially be very painful? Because His heart is engaged in these transactions of sacrifice. He doesn’t do anything that doesn’t cost Him greatly. The price He’s willing to pay is also the value He places on not only the person He is sending, but the one He sending them to as well.
The fees He pays are never nominal. They have heart, emotion, passion and great feeling behind them. So whether you are the sacrifice or the beneficiary of a sacrifice, know that this is the price and the cost is greatly esteemed by the Lord. He has in His mind and in His heart and in His passions, extreme love.
Ouch! So, John, in this light, if we are NOT one of the ones that the Lord chooses as a sacrifice – for our family, neighbor, etc., (like, if they don’t respond in a positive way to His Life and Light in us) it would mean that we are not “a favored one,” “choice,” or “His delight, one who is loved and brings Him joy.”(?) I’m in trouble!
Oh Pauline, I can never dictate the response of another nor the time frame it will ever take. I can only allow for the Lord to be in me, I can not ever make a thing grow. And the time that it took for Abram or Isaac to be trained is not directly stated in the Word. Times are a funny thing in the Lord’s hand, because they are His. God delights when we will be His. He doesn’t demand any more. All is His to perform.
Once again, it’s all about Love – thank you for sharing your insight… And thank you for the reply box!! I was waiting for it!!
This is OIL, thanks John!
When you folks stopped by Martha asked if she could pray for me…Yes! She didn’t; at least not audibly. She laid hands on me for a moment and then said “God knows”. What a marvelous encouragement that has been to my heart over these months. Love to you all.