Freedom and Sacrifice

A Word to Consider - Freedom and Sacrifice
by Bill NeSmith

     Many attribute the act of sacrifice as solely the process of doing without things related to comfort, benefit, and convenience.  However, the process of sacrifice has to do more with the inward workings of the soul than the outward needs that one may be called to address.

     Along with ‘servitude’, the word ‘sacrifice’ is another empowering spiritual word that has been perverted and stolen from the human race by our forked-tongue, lying, adversary, the devil.. In order to experience true freedom there must be a healthy understanding of sacrifice found in freedom.

As a Matter of the Heart

     As stated above, sacrifice is not simply the act of doing without. In the natural that may be the case in order to press towards a new goal or expected future,  such as, a mother changing her diet to properly nourish her unborn child, parents cutting costs to afford a family home or children’s college, or a new business owner laboring toward a successful business venture.   But to understand the deepest and most tangible meaning, one can simply look at the ultimate act of sacrifice – that of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary and the shedding of His blood for the sins of mankind. 

     Jesus Himself revealed the matter of sacrifice while praying in the garden of Gethsemane.

Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.’   (Luke 22:42 Amp)

     Jesus aligned His will to that of His Father’s because He knew that God’s will was based on love of others rather than love of self. 

     Jesus’s love on the cross was not simply one of a submitted will either.  It naturally came out of His unfallen state.  Three years before this prayer, Jesus had revealed the foundation of sacrifice within His own soul while in the wilderness when He aligned His will to the Word of God rather than the devil who served as His tempter.  To rightly sacrifice is to operate out of the unfallen or Christ-redeemed state of man as we walk according to the Spirit who guides our steps.  It’s not simply the act of doing without, it is the act of doing with God.

 

As a Matter of the Head

     Sacrifice of natural conveniences can be a spiritual act of piety.  It can also be a result of a poverty spirit.  The best way to ensure that one is sacrificing as God would intend is to draw close in communion with God so as to hear His leading in your spirit. 

     If any one thing is needed in our present day, it is a people who know the Lord’s voice and are willing to sacrifice their will for His and thus performing deeds beyond the imagination or current constraints.  Many religious deeds have been done in an attempt to find a pure sense of sacrifice but they will fail if they are not first established in the quiet place of communion with Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the God of spiritual Jew and Christian alike – the descendants of Abraham according to the Promise.

 

Clear Measures

     Think about this please. If the topic of sacrifice were to align with the cultural and normal understanding of the world, then all Christians would have to refrain from claiming the powerful promises of Scripture that often convey the opposite of some common worldly views.  These promises speak of God’s provision, oversight, open/shut doors, and favor towards the righteous, as well as, times of trial that are meant for a season, to test and perfect ones faith.

     Sometimes a lack of resources leads us rightfully to assess what is not correct or needs to be adjusted.  And many times, lack is the very crucible that shapes our will to align with the Lord’s as we develop the result of the Spirit’s activity, such as, steadfastness, endurance, longsuffering, and faithfulness which then develop the qualities of character, integrity, strength, honor and virtue. 

     Abundance is not always a clear direction of favor and proper position.  Great and wealthy people, while on their deathbeds, have looked back only to wish they could have lived with something other than fame or wealth as their goal.

     The Scripture’s Book of Proverbs helps us understand how misguided we can become at the presence or lack of ‘enough’. 

‘7 There are two things, Lord, I want you to do for me before I die:  8 Make me absolutely honest and don’t let me be too poor or too rich.  Give me just what I need. 9 If I have too much to eat, I might forget about you; if I don’t have enough, I might steal and disgrace your name.’      (Proverbs 30:7-9 CEV)

 

God Builds Up

     God always builds up and only calls us to leave our old nature of selfish rebellion in order to fully walk out the new nature.  This aligns us more surely to handle the great life and abundance that is the Kingdom of God.  There is little He holds back when we are able to steward it.

     We are called to be ‘living sacrifices’ and not ‘dying sacrifices’ meaning we are being build up and not just dismantled.  Yes, our service to the Lord may cost us some comfort for a time but we must ensure that our sacrifice is not cajoled or pressed on us in a manner that exceeds or overruns Godly boundaries.  

     We should not be moved out of guilt or a belief that we cannot see clearly for ourselves.   We are to follow the Lord’s Word as well as Holy Spirit’s leading which will bear witness to our spirits as we press forward as a body in the Great Commission.

 

As a Matter of Principle

     Sacrifice comes from an inward set of principles of guiding ideals whether they are realized or developed with attention. One definition of the word ‘Principle’ is:

(Noun)  1. a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or  for a chain of reasoning.

     As a matter of principle, some sacrifice their future to convenience and an easier way, taking the easy route most traveled rather than the one least traveled and requires more effort.  They sacrifice themselves to convenience and comfort never to become the person God intended them to be simply because it was not contended for.  Some never overcome a spirit or attitude of poverty that holds them down – they sacrifice their very future while living in daily lack or careless abundance.

     Sacrifice can also be for piety, as well as, for birthing of dreams.  Piety has its purpose and birthing is not meant to last forever.  

     Most importantly, we have seen that sacrifice is an alignment - an alignment of one’s will to another.  When aligned out of Love it becomes what scripture calls a ‘living sacrifice’ as God works through a person to impact those around them. 

     We will only experience true freedom when we learn to sacrifice our will to God’s will and then trust Him for all things that follow thereafter – the stretching, teaching, building and the tearing down.   True Freedom is found only in God, and anything worth having is also worth the sacrifice to aquire it. In the natural, the cost of sacrifice can be indicators of His will such as, the presence of rain or the drying up of rivers, but there is no better place to be than simply in His presence when the rain stops or the rivers flow again.

 

Freedom and Sacrifice