Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Giving...and Giving Up

Blogger has issues. Or I have issues. This is not formatted in the way I would prefer it to be. But I think giving up my plans for a perfectly formatted blogpost is one of my sacrifices today.

I'm praying through the Spiritual Disciplines, asking God how I can put my love for Him into practice. This week I'm praying about sacrifice, asking God what He would like me to give or give up.

I thought of Jesus' life on earth, and the great sacrifice He paid for us. I thought about the smaller sacrifices in His earthly life, and this story came to mind:
Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. ...
About eight days after these words, He took along Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem.
Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him. As the two men were departing from Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud.
Then a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is My Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him!”
After the voice had spoken, only Jesus was found. They kept silent, and in those days told no one what they had seen.
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him. (Luke 9:23, 28-37)
Jesus took three close friends up the mountain to share an amazing experience. They caught a glimpse of Jesus in His glory, and they saw two Old Testament heroes. They heard the mighty voice of God the Father.
And then they all came back down the mountain to meet a large crowd—a crowd with needs. Jesus took up His daily routine again. There was no lingering in the glory; He had a job to do.
I have a job too. However glorious my morning quiet time, whatever truth and comfort God impresses on my heart, I do have to come down the stairs and make breakfast, do the laundry and care for my children.

Sometimes sacrifice is simply giving myself and giving up what I want to do. Before Jesus took the disciples up the mountain, He spoke to them about denying themselves and taking up their crosses daily. There are difficult, annoying and painful things that I must face as I serve God. Some are larger then others. Some are simply the everyday routine of work when I'd really rather sit down and drink my tea and look outside at the mountains.

And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. (Ephesians 5:2)

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up.(Galatians 6:9)
Lord, show me how to live in love today, to serve my family and You.