Why Sacrifice is Needed More than Ever

This is a devotional meant for young adults seeking to become more like Jesus.  

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay one’s life for one’s friend.

Sacrificial love = Jesus' life

Throughout high school, I believed the myth that the greatest love anyone could experience is found in romance. Commercially successful films like The Notebook or The Titanic nestled the root deeply in their massive audience: scoring your soulmate is the ultimate sweepstake destination. But Jesus promotes something entirely different, countercultural, in John 15:13. The MSG translation quotes the passage like this, “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.” And Jesus doesn’t just say this as a catchphrase to be plastered on a coffee mug, or framed on the wall next to “Live, Laugh, Love.” Sacrificial love is what shaped Jesus’ life, his ministry, and ultimately his death and resurrection.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God, the Father capable of perfect love, showed his affection how? Not by buying roses, or showering his beloved with compliments. He gave. He sacrificed. He gave, not because he needed anything in return. What could He gain if He already has everything? What was His motive? Perfect love.

When we sacrifice, when we give our resources generously, when we place the needs of others above our own, we echo the very heartbeat of God (John 13:34). We also accomplish these three things when put this spiritual discipline to practice:

  1. Sacrifice displays our trust in God – Before Jesus is arrested to make the ultimate sacrifice, he prays over the coming events. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me.” He recognizes the pain he will face and cries out to be spared. But he doesn’t stop there. Jesus cements his trust in the Father even in the midst of his deep distress in the following nine words: “Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). Sacrifice will cost us, but when we freely give we implicitly say, “Even though this hurts to give up, I know God will fulfill and cover me.” 
  2. Sacrifice anchors our humility – Sometimes the sacrifice required of us has nothing to do with money or time. It does, however, always demand our pride. Because in order to sacrifice for others, we must place their needs above our own. As Paul instructs in Phillipians, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of others” (2:3-4).
  3. Sacrifice verifies our love to others – Many are suspicious of the church because they were abused or manipulated by someone who claimed to be Christian. People want to know if we are the “real deal”, and rightfully so. Jesus promises the world will recognize us as his disciples when we love sacrificially as he did (John 13:35).

 

The world is hurting. It was hurting before COVID 19. But the virus has woken some of us (myself included) from a numb slumber to see suffering outside of our immediate bubble is present and urgent. More than ever, the world needs the church to show up and give of herself like the Bridegroom did. What can you give of yourself today to help others experience the true love of Jesus Christ?

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