Do you have a favorite Bible character? A hero of the faith? Maybe you never cease to be encouraged by a well-loved and well-known saint found in Hebrews 11 – the Hall of Faith. Or perhaps you more closely identify with one of the more “undistinguished” personalities found throughout scripture. I personally love reading about (and learning from) Dorcas – and so many like her who are often not even named. All of these Bible characters are as unique and individual as we are; however, have you noticed one common thing found in almost all of their stories? I recently have. Sacrifice.
Sacrifice that often involves a tangible loss or relinquishment. Sacrifice often accompanied by sorrow or suffering. But certainly sacrifice that demonstrates a letting go of personal will for His purpose, plan, and desire.
Granted there are many types of sacrifice. Even praise can be a form of sacrifice. Hebrews 13:15 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” But praise offered in the most difficult of times, when our circumstances seem less than praiseworthy, is a sacrifice because it involves letting go of ourselves and choosing to trust, and believe, even though we feel we cannot or even think that we should. I have heard of this letting go – or laying down our all – described as an altar experience. Even the name, altar experience, can be challenging. Causing us to hold our breath.
Abraham’s submission to God’s request to sacrifice Isaac is, perhaps, the ultimate altar experience. But many others throughout scripture and even throughout history had altar experiences. Think of Elizabeth Elliott. And not all altar experiences involve the death of someone we love but there is always sacrifice. Sacrifice might include a plan, a goal or even a dream. It might involve a relationship or a position. Often, as we mature in Christ, sacrifice is much more about intangible things, such as attitudes or other matters of the heart. For me, lately, God is repeatedly asking me to relinquish control. To lay down my entrenched need for control. But, for you, it might be something entirely different. We are all so unique – and isn’t that wonderful?!
However, I do believe that all of us – those who are His children and who long to walk in sweet fellowship with our Heavenly Father – desire to be a living sacrifice. And, to be a living sacrifice involves, well, sacrifice. Exactly what is a living sacrifice?? I hope to discuss that concept more next Tuesday. I hope you will come back and join me in the conversation. let me know your thoughts on sacrifice. Perhaps share with me your favorite Bible character. Or, if you would like, share how or what God has asked you to sacrifice. I think it would be an encouragement to others.