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November 5, 2017

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THE DELIGHT OF SACRIFICE

"I will very gladly spend and be spent for you." 2 Corinthians 12:15

When the Spirit of God first awakens us, draws us unto Christ, and His love begins to penetrate our lives, we begin to identify with Jesus Christ. The more we surrender to His lordship and His authority, the more we begin to know the "mind of Christ." Paul said, "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus." He emphasized that we should be "like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose, doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:2-3). Now, that's easier said than done. We struggle with that as we seek "to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29).

How does that relate to our daily walk? If we say with Paul, "I will very gladly spend and be spent for you," it means, we will be willing to give of ourselves in whatever measure, at whatever cost, to come alongside of others and show them the love of God. This may mean the sacrifice of our time in order to be used of the Lord in someone's life. It may mean sharing hospitality in an unexpected way to our neighbor. It may mean giving of our talents or gifts to improve the life or ability of someone. "To be spent" has no bounds.

Paul's attitude exemplifies what this verse means, and the demand it will put on us if we are to be so committed to the Lord. Paul said, "I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means win some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). There was no restraint with Paul in the "giving of himself" to others. Our spiritual need is to put to death our disposition to sin...our claim of our rights to ourselves. When we act on this moral decision, then all that Christ did "for" us on the Cross is done "in" us by the Holy Spirit. It gives the Holy Spirit complete freedom and access to the whole of our life, and imparts to us the holiness of Jesus Christ.

Our lives start the spiritual journey of "becoming" like Christ. Our vision is enlarged, no longer confined to "our" interests and "our" concerns, but HIS. We no longer "strive" to live a victorious life, HE begins to live HIS LIFE through us. "To spend and be spent" is not a burden, but a glorious opportunity of seeing the Holy Spirit accomplish through us things beyond our capability that glorify our Lord. Thus, the "supernatural life of Christ within" responds "naturally" to His leading and working through us. The striving now becomes a "resting in Him"...the fruit is the result of HIS doing, not ours.

It all starts with OBEDIENCE. It then takes on PRESENTATION. Behind the deed of obedience is the reality of Almighty God. Paul said, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to PRESENT your bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will" (Romans 12:1-2).

With surrendered heart and life, God impacts others through you. This is the "delight of sacrifice"...HIS LIFE living freely and fully in and through you! What a blessing and a joy!

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.


This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-11-05


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