Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you in the warmth and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today, I wish to discuss a vital aspect of our faith - understanding sacrificial living and obedience to God's will.
In the Christian faith, we are called to live according to the example set by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Jesus’s life, ministry, and ultimate sacrifice on the cross exemplify the epitome of sacrificial living and obedience to the will of God.
To understand sacrificial living, we must revisit the most significant sacrifice of all time - the sacrifice of Jesus. He gave up his life, not for his sins, but for ours. His sacrificial life and death serve as a beacon, lighting the way for us to follow.
Sacrificial living is not solely about monumental acts or grand gestures; it is about the consistent, daily decision to put God first, others second, and ourselves last. It is about choosing to love when it's hard, offering forgiveness when it's undeserved, and giving when it's inconvenient.
The apostle Paul in Romans 12:1 implores us, saying, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Living a sacrificial life means being willing to give our time, talents, resources, and even our lives, if necessary, for the cause of Christ.
Just as Christ sacrificed for us, we are called to live sacrificially for others - serving rather than being served, giving rather than receiving, loving rather than being loved. This is the heart of sacrificial living.
Moving to the other part of our topic today, obedience to God's will, let's remember that obedience is not merely an act but an attitude. It is the humble acceptance that God's ways are higher than ours, His plans are better than ours, and His will is the perfect course for our lives.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, perfectly modeled obedience to God's will. In the garden of Gethsemane, facing the anguish of the cross, Jesus prayed, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). Despite the impending suffering, Jesus submitted to the Father's will.
Obedience to God's will often means choosing the more challenging path, going against the world's standards, and possibly even enduring hardship or persecution. Yet, through obedience, we get to know God, trust Him, and experience His love and grace.
Our faith journey requires sacrificial living and obedience to God's will. They are like two sides of the same coin, intricately woven together daily. As we offer ourselves as living sacrifices, we align more with God's will. So likewise, as we strive to obey God, we become more sacrificial.
It may sound daunting, but remember; we are not called to this sacrificial living and obedience alone. We have the Holy Spirit who guides, equips, and empowers us. Let us not forget the words of Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
So, dear brethren, let us aspire to live sacrificially and obey God's will, not out of obligation, but out of love for our Lord who first loved us and gave Himself for us.