Monday, January 30, 2012

Sacrifice is Never Easy

Sacrifice is never easy.  When God asks something big of you, it may hurt, and it may be hard to do.  I don't believe that He always asks hard things of us, but there are times when obeying God is a sacrifice.  God is a jealous God, and when we place things above Him, it will hurt to give them up, or to realign our life the way it should be.

Lately I've been working through the emotion of the next steps of my healing journey, and all that it means.  God has revealed to me that I have placed my house as an idol above Him.  And before I can truly move on in my healing as a widow, I need to deal with the idol.  It is very hard for me to downsize all that I have.  My possessions have become my personal "arrival" in life, or a sign of all I have accomplished.  I know God is calling me on to something greater, and when I get there it is going to be wonderful.  But today, as I prepare to start cleaning stuff up, giving stuff away, and downsizing, its hard.  And it hurts!  Sacrifice is never easy.

Think of Abraham.  God told him to sacrifice his only son: the miracle child God gave him.   This was to be a literal sacrifice.  Lay your son on the altar, slay him, and set the altar on fire! I can't help but wonder, why did God ask that of Him?  Was Abraham a bit like me? Did He unknowingly put his beloved son Issac above God? Was Issac the symbol of Abraham's life accomplishment? Did God need to be put back in His proper place in Abrahams life? Regardless of why, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son.  I can't even imagine how hard obeying that command must have been. But Abraham set out to do it.  After seeing Abrahams willingness, God stopped him at the very last minute.  God saw Abraham was willing to have nothing come between him and God, and provided a ram for the sacrifice instead.  Even so, that day must have been one of the hardest in Abraham's life.  Sacrifice is hard.

Look at Jesus.  He had a glorious and wonderful life in Heaven.  Yet he sacrificed it all, leaving behind everything.  He was God, and He laid it all down to come to earth as a man.  There was nothing easy about that.  Now fast forward 33 years to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew He was going to be arrested, beaten beyond recognition, whipped within a breathe of His life, then mocked and hung naked on a cross until death.  He cried as He sought God for strength to face it.  He cried so hard he bled.  Jesus was sacrificing it all so that we could enjoy eternity with Him in Heaven. Sacrifice is hard.

Finally I think of the rich young ruler who asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus told him to sell all of his things. Why? Because those things owned him.  They were idols in His life.  His things had replaced God as his source, and he found his identity and measure of success in them.  God knew.  He is a jealous God.  He says, "have nothing before me!"  I believe Jesus asked Him to sell his belongs for this reason: they were above God.  Unwilling, the rich young ruler walked away sad, because he had many possessions (Mark 10:17-22). Sacrifice is hard.

I feel very much like this rich young ruler. I unknowingly have placed some things above God.  If they weren't above Him, it wouldn't be so hard.  But unlike the ruler, I recognize that God doesn't take away from us.  He only adds.  Its like planting a seed in the ground.  By giving up what I have, God is adding peace to my life.  By down sizing, God is adding stability to my situation.  By ridding myself of idols, God is adding the promise of His blessing in my life.  By closing the door on this chapter of my life, God is adding a new future, new memories, the opportunity for a new family and building a new life together with them. It is not going to be easy.  But I know one day soon I will be writing you from the other side.  I will be saying how free I feel, and how I wish I had done it sooner.

Sacrifice is hard... but it is always worth it!


  1. Oh, this is a very good post, Jennifer! This may be what I needed to hear to begin the process of being able to let go of many things.

  2. Jenn, God has been dealing with me in the area of idols in my life as well and I wrote about it just yesterday in my blog post. What you said about Isaac perhaps being an idol in Abraham's life is something I had never thought about and it makes perfect sense. I can see how that could have easily happened. Thank you for pointing that out and for making me think some more this morning.