Tag Archive for 'sacrifice'

Jesus was a man.

Cross

One of my struggles is to remember that Jesus was a man who walked the earth and lived His life. The way I remind myself of such a basic truth is to make Jesus personal. This all probably sounds very fundamental, but I think a lot of people are missing this.

Let’s start with some Scripture:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped;
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:6-8

Let’s think about this. I walk up to you and I say, “I’m the Son of God.” You’d either laugh at me or think, “He is out of his mind.” And then I say, “Come follow me.” You’d probably think to yourself, “Um… No thanks. I don’t follow crazy people.”

Ok. So now that we’ve established that I’m crazy, imagine some random dude walking up to you and saying, “I’m the Son of God.” You’d either laugh at him or think, “He is out of his mind.” And then he says, “Come follow me.” You’d probably think to yourself, “Um… No thanks. I don’t follow crazy people.” See a pattern here?

So you may be thinking, “Well since Jesus has already come, I have no reason to believe you or this random dude.” Well, ok. But why would you have believed Jesus?

“When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.'” Mark 3:21 Timeout. Jesus’ family just said, “He is out of his mind.” See a pattern here?

Does this make sense?
He was crazy (John 10:20). He was blasphemous (John 10:33). He was counter-cultural (Mark 2:17). He was miraculous (John 12:37). He was hanging out with “sinners” (Mark 2:15). He told the religious folks that the prostitutes were entering the kingdom of God ahead of them (Matt 21:31)! This is not the guy we invite to speak at our church.

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” John 1:10,11

It’s easy to look at the people around Jesus and wonder how they completely missed it. But if you can break Jesus down in this frame of mind, I would bet there would be a lot of Christians saying, “Wait. I’m following this guy? I’m trusting in what this guy said? I’m a ‘disciple’ of this guy? When did I agree to that?” (Matthew 7:21-23)

I have had so many guys tell me that they have always been a Christian or have always believed in God. If that’s you, I’d like to stop you right here — You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder (James 2:19). If a belief in God leads to salvation, the demons are more saved than most of us – because they actually know the character of God to the point that they shudder.

We have separated Jesus from God. Everyone says “God bless you” when you sneeze and “God bless America” on the 4th of July. Change that to “Jesus” and you will get some strange looks. A belief in God is culturally acceptable. What makes a person crazy is when they claim that Jesus the Christ is this God.

Is casual faith acceptable? Can you believe in the Jesus of the Bible and still fit into this world? I think we’ve missed it, because Jesus didn’t come begging for you to ask Him into your heart. He came offering His righteousness in exchange for every ounce of your being. You can’t claim to follow Jesus and still be of this world. You just can’t. Jesus said some pretty crazy stuff that doesn’t exactly increase our comfort and definitely doesn’t sit well with the world.

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” (2 Timothy 3:12). This is the one thing that moved me from a belief in God to following Jesus (the topic of suffering to be exact, as I heard it taught in Secret Church: The Cross and Suffering).

If you are a truly a Christian… you are crazy… so live like it. You’re placing your faith in a man who walked the earth and claimed to be the Son of God. You’re not normal. Quit trying to fit into this world… because you can’t.

be satisfied, husbands, part 2

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body.” Ephesians 5:25-30

Marriage is a covenant bond between a man, a woman, and God… a covenant bond between one selfish sinner, another selfish sinner, and a holy, righteous God.

God the Father sacrificed His Son for our redemption.  Christ cares for His church and selflessly gave His life for us.  We are members of Christ’s body.  Our wives are members of our body.  No one ever hated their own body.  In the way Christ cares for His body, we are commanded to care for ours.  He who loves his wife loves himself.  We must nourish our body, our wives, ourselves.  We are to love our wives, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.  The Word.  We are called to live the Word, breathe the Word, speak the Word, wash our wives with the Word.  Like the flood of mercy and grace in which our Father sweeps us away, we should cover our wives in a flood of mercy and grace… the Word (John 1:1).  We must center ourselves in the Word to be able to know the Word.  The Word is Christ and Christ is the Word.  Our source of endless love, mercy, and grace for our wives can only come from the endless spring that is Christ (Psalm 23:5).  We will fail to love our wives when we try to provide mercy and grace from our own reserves.  We will empty ourselves.  As husbands, we cannot stand ankle deep in God’s mercy and grace.  We must walk toward the crashing waves.  We cannot touch the bottom.  We cannot turn back.  No final breath, no gasps for air.  Drown.  He is our breath and He will fill us.  Center yourself in the Word, in Christ, and then wash your wife in the Word.  Drown her in the Lord’s mercy and grace.

Sacrifice your wants, your needs, your desires, your dreams, your aspirations, your self… for your wife… but not for your wife’s sake.  The point is not to sacrifice yourself so you can focus on her wants, needs, desires, aspirations.  Sacrifice yourself so that you may be filled with Christ.  If you want to be the man your wife longs for, be Christ.  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  The only place two sinners can be satisfied with each other is in Christ.  Selfishness leads to broken marriages (James 3:16).  Self must not exist in marriage.  When we drown ourselves in Christ, we become patient, we become kind.  We won’t envy, boast, or be full of pride.  We will honor our wives.  We won’t be quick to anger.  We won’t hold a record of wrongs.  Husbands, rejoice in the truth and turn away now from all that is evil.

We are not called to spend our lives building sand castles, splashing on the beach.  Step into the deep.  Lose your footing and be swept away by Christ.

self defense – a different perspective

The thought of life or death self-defense is something that I have found to be unsettling. There are consequences (beyond the worldly consequences) that bother me that I feel must be examined before I choose to take the life of someone trying to take mine.
(For any of my reasoning to make sense, it has to be considered that I’m looking beyond a worldly perspective. The worldly perspective is a simple “yes.”)
If I have the ability to defend myself against an attacker, do I take their life? The only way I can answer this question is to step out of this world and take a Heavenly mindset. If I shoot someone, I am most likely damning them to an eternity in Hell. The severity of life and death can only be seen through the realization of Heaven and Hell. My eternity is sealed in Christ. Nothing, neither death nor life (Romans 8:38-39), can separate me from my destination. My fate is firm… but my attacker’s is not. In this sense, do I consider my life in Christ to be more valuable than a life damned to Hell (Philippians 1:21-22)? To live is Christ, to die is gain. Kill me and I spend an eternity in Heaven. If I kill you, your fate is sealed in eternal agony and anguish. Is the possibility of giving my attacker one more day on earth with the hope that he’ll find Christ pure insanity (2 Corinthians 5:11-16)? Or is that ounce of hope a sacrifice of hope for my attacker’s eternity (John 15:12-14)?
You may ask, “Well that’s crazy. What about your wife you are leaving behind?” Well. My wife doesn’t need me. She really doesn’t. Her joy, peace, life is found in Christ… not in me.
You may also ask, “Well what if they threaten the life of your wife and yours?” Well. That’s when I unload my gun… through the barrel. But to dive into further insanity, is the life of two believers worth the hope of one soul finding Christ? My wife’s fate is sealed in Christ. The hope for one soul damned to Hell vs the fate of two in Christ?

The only logical conclusion I can come to? As the father told his son when they caught an intruder in the house, “Aim for the legs, son. You won’t kill him.”

sacrifice

I look where I’m going, I look where I’ve been.
It’s hard not to miss it, I see it again.
Everywhere in the past, everywhere straight ahead,
The path is so flat, the journey of a life left for dead.

There has been no ups, there has been no downs.
On a path so flat, I scream for a crown.

The mountain is clear, the gate I should take,
The journey to glory, the path I can’t fake.
The trip will be rough, a leap of faith,
but I can’t stay here for your and my sake.

I can’t move alone. But how? But why?
What if? Then what? Too fearful to try.
Please help, please carry me.
Please pull, please push me.

The strength that I need, the strength I can’t find,
It’s in me, I know it, it burns me alive.
Lord, where are you? Where have you been?
I can’t seem to find You, not even within.

All this time I keep running, down my path so flat,
All this time you keep chasing, like a mouse by a cat.

You’re screaming my name,
I’m too deaf to hear,
I stop and I see You,
And tremble in fear.

Lord… what am I doing,
Please show me the way,
To the gate so narrow,
Lord, don’t wait.

“You have to let go,
You have to let me,
You’re fighting your cuffs,
Yet you’ve got the key.

Drop this world, its loves and its likes,
Let’s get this straight, let’s make this right.

You don’t belong here,
Your time is short.
You’ve got no time,
It’s time to report.

Love me and love others, your duty is clear,
Love me and love me, and know that I’m here.”

I see all before me, and see what was behind,
I lay it all down, and start my climb.
That path was so low, what a fool I have been,
I drop all my chains, let the journey begin.




%d bloggers like this: