“So, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. “ – Philippians 2:1-8
My Dad was dying.
Our relationship in the past few years was not what it had always been. His drinking was out of control. Just a few months prior to his diagnosis, I knew something was wrong and I told my husband that I knew he wouldn’t be around much longer.
You see, alcoholism not only destroys your liver but destroys your thought processes. When the liver is compromised it no longer filters the toxins in your body, so they wreak havoc in your brain. I was ignorant on the side affects of alcoholism until it was too late to take notice.
I knew why my Dad drank. He was self-medicating because his life had been very difficult. I begged him to stop but he just couldn’t do it. I loved him deeply despite his self- destructive lifestyle and now I was faced with caring for my dying Dad.
My only hope was to tie a rope around God and hang on. Somehow He would get me through this. Somehow He would give me what I needed to care for the man who had been my hero as a child.
God did get me through it and He taught me something about Himself in the process. I learned that a sacrifice was necessary. There is no sacrifice I can make that is worthy of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross for me. I should have the same mind as Christ, that Sacrificial mind. The mind of Jesus who loves me so much, humbled Himself in obedience to God, and made Himself a willing sacrifice so that I may be reconciled with God.
Understanding Jesus’ Sacrifice is the key to obtaining a Sacrificial mind. It is the key to understanding Jesus’ true Sacrifice.
Sacrifice is not free
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”- 1 John 3:16-18
There was a price to pay while caring for my Dad. It was day-in and day-out. I lost sleep, I rarely got through a whole meal and my husband was handling everything else in our lives. I was laser focused on managing Dad’s personal affairs as well as taking care of his personal needs. I was drained and on the verge of tears daily. Jesus was sorrowful and troubled, even to death in the Garden of Gethsemane. He fell on His face praying. He knew what was coming but He knew the Father’s Will must be done and His sacrifice cost Him his life. Any true sacrifice should cost us something too.
Sacrifice is a choice
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” – John 10:17-18
I had a choice in the care of my Dad. I could do it at home or I could put him in a Nursing Home and under the care of others. No one would have blamed me for putting my Dad in a Nursing Home under professional care but I just couldn’t do it. I knew that Dad would want to be at home with me, so I made the choice. Circumstances didn’t lead Jesus to the Cross. He chose the Cross. No one made the choice for Him. He did. A true sacrifice is a choice not a result of circumstance.
Sacrifice comes with humility
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” – Philippians 2:6-8
Humility comes in many forms. My Dad the strong protector who cared for me was now laying in a hospital bed in my house. I was feeding him and changing his diapers. I knew that if he had been in his right mind, he would have hated it and he would have been so humiliated. I took on his humiliation. I cried as I cared for his most personal basic personal needs. It humbled me so. Imagine being God, the Creator of all, hanging on a Cross, naked, beaten and despised. Imagine the One who came to save being murdered by those He came to for. Any true sacrifice comes with humility.
Sacrifice must be made, out of love and obedience to Him
“But I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”– John 14:31
I cared for my father because it was my duty to him and because I loved him. As much as my father meant to me will never compare to my duty and love for my Heavenly Father. I sacrificed for my father. How much more should I sacrifice for my Heavenly Father? Jesus’ motives were simple. He obeyed so that all would know that He loved the Father. Our motives should be that simple. We should sacrifice because we love Him, and we love Him by being obedient to Him. A true sacrifice should be done out of love and obedience to Him, period.
A lesson in sacrifice is not an easy one but it is a worthwhile one. It is the closest thing here on earth to being like Jesus. That, after all, is our goal; to be more like Him. I can never know what it was like for Jesus. I can never make a sacrifice that would ever compare to His. He does give us opportunities in life to learn more about Him and this was one for me. I learned what a true sacrifice He made for me.
Debbie Davie is a Christian whose life was completely turned upside down, the day Jesus entered it. She loves to see God daily in the ordinary and quirky things of life. Read about them in her blog.
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