In a recent blog, I wrote about how good things are not always good things; sometimes we have to let go of things/people/places that were once great because God is no longer calling us to those things. I wanted to continue writing about sacrifices with a little help from Elizabeth Elliot:

 

Life requires countless “little” deaths- occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yes to God.

РElizabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity 

She is describing sacrifices as deaths, the death of our own dreams or plans in favor of God’s will. We don’t like to talk about these sacrifices. Most church goers will claim to follow verses such as these, but how often do we actually live it out? How often do we “deny ourselves,” “take up our crosses,” or “lose our lives for His sake?”

While we know those things are important, we tend to cower behind ideas of God wanting us to be happy and satisfied and have “all the desires of our hearts.” If we find comfort in our well-paying jobs, love indulging in sin, or find contentment in our own little worlds, why would God want to take away those things?

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God is of a different nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. it never denies reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering. The love of God did not protect His own Son. That was the proof of His love- that He gave His Son, that He let Him go to Calvary’s cross. He will not necessarily protect us- not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process.

It is very true that God loves us more than we can comprehend (Romans 5:8), and He gives us good gifts (James 1:17). I believe that God is a good Father and that He delights in our joy. However, our happiness is to be found in Him, not in earthly things. Psalm 37:4 tells us to take delight in the Lord before stating that God will give us the desires of our hearts.

God’s love and faithful promises do not exempt us from suffering or from having to make sacrifices. Paul knew very well of the suffering this life produced (2 Corinthians 11:16-33) yet he recognizes that his weaknesses leave room for Christ’s power to be displayed (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

God does not delight in our suffering, yet He allows suffering and sacrifices to build us. 

Think of the self that God has given as an acorn. It is a marvelous little thing, a perfect shape, perfectly designed for its purpose, perfectly functional. Think of the grand glory of an oak tree. God’s intention when he made the acorn was the oak tree. God’s intention for us is “.. the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Many deaths must go into our reaching that measure, many letting-goes. When you look at the oak tree, you don’t feel the “loss” of the acorn is a very great loss. The more you perceive God’s purpose in your life, the less terrible the losses seem.

We are constantly maturing and growing into who God created us to be, an image more like Christ. As an oak tree loses many acorns, we will also have to make sacrifices.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. {John 12:24}

This is a little all over the place, but I wanted to tell you that sometimes in life we have to give up something that we love, and just because we know we should give it up does not make it easy. God may ask us to give up something that hurts a lot. It is these “little deaths” that truly allow us to deny ourselves and instead walk God’s path. When we choose to say no to self and yes to God, we learn to more fully trust God and His plan. Take heart in knowing that God will be with you through the difficulty in any circumstances, and He will have something even better planned on the other side.

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