Many times in our lives we will encounter situations in which we feel like life is spinning out of control, and that we have lost our handle on things.
What we need to learn is that we have to let go, or sacrifice, our control on life and acknowledge God’s power and provision – which is the essence of sacrifice – in order to survive and thrive in the midst if life’s difficult circumstances.
In order to receive a spiritual breakthrough we often have to make sacrifices, but a sacrifice can be very costly and often we will try to avoid sacrifice at all cost.
We seek to find the easy way out of our circumstances; however the easy way is not always what is best.
If we want a breakthrough we will have to make a sacrifice, and a sacrifice must cost us something; for we can’t cheat the Lord and expect him to bless us for it.
King David was required to erect an altar to the Lord, meaning that he was required to make a sacrifice (see 1 Chronicles 21:18-27). A sacrifice requires us to put our faith and trust in God instead of ourselves.
We have to trust that God will provide either the sacrifice, or that he will provide for our physical needs after we have made the sacrifice. Once we make a sacrifice it will put us in a place of need, for we have given away the resources that will sustain us. It will put us in a place where our resources are expended and where we can’t take care of ourselves, but we instead have to trust that God will take care of us.
Once we make a sacrifice it puts us in a place of submission before God.
David was told to set up an altar on the threshing floor of a man by the name of Ornan. Ornan offered to give the threshing floor to David free of charge. King David answered Ornan, “No, I insist on paying the full price, for I will not take for the Lord what belongs to you or offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (1 Chronicles 21:24).
A sacrifice really isn’t a sacrifice until it costs us something. If it hadn’t cost David anything, or if he decided to take the easy way out, then the Lord would have observed that David was not at all sincere in his remorse and repentance for his sin. The purpose of a sacrifice is to show our inner-most heart attitude before God. Making a sacrifice shows submission and obedience to the Lord, whereas refusing to sacrifice reveals pride, arrogance, and self-sufficiency. A sacrifice must cost us something.
Is the Lord asking you to do something or give up something that is going to cost you? It may cost you more than money. It may cost you some time. It may mean giving up a week of your vacation to go on a mission trip. It may mean taking a sick friend to the doctor. It may mean volunteering a half day at the Hope Center in Bowling Green.
When we rely on human reasoning we are refusing to walk in faith, and when we refuse to walk in faith we are failing to be submissive and obedient to God. If David had accepted Ornan’s offer it would have revealed that he was not submissive before God.
The season of Lent is to be a time we give up something we enjoy and add something that will bring us closer to God. Remember, Jesus sacrificed His life so our sins could be forgiven and we could have everlasting life in the family of God. What are you sacrificing for the glory of God that is costing you something?
Submitted by Keith Barnhart, pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church