1. A Desire to Sacrifice
Galatians 2:20 (HCSB)
20 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.
“A heart that truly understands the gospel overflows with gratefulness to God. Extravagant grace produces extravagant givers.” (Loc. 1501)
Who were you before Jesus saved you?
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!
The more you realize how much loves you, the more His love will spill out from you.
Robert and Maridith Lane took a major risk when they moved to South Sudan, a battleground nation in northeast Africa. But they see it as a risk worth taking. When the Lanes first visited in 2010, their hearts became burdened for the more than 400,000 people unreached by the Gospel in South Sudan, which became independent of Sudan in 2011. They came back for good in 2013.
Now, the Lanes and their missionary teammates are learning to live a life more difficult than they ever imagined as they reach out to the Dinka Rek people group, who number nearly 3 million. See related video.
"We need to be ready for those hardships, ready for those difficulties, ready to be used as a sacrifice for Christ as we try to make His name famous," Robert said. "The Dinka are very strong and proud. In tradition, they're extremely warlike. They say, 'We hate our enemy, we hate this other people group, we hate people who try to take anything from us or keep us from political power.'"
However, the Lanes have no doubt South Sudan is where God has called them. Getting into the country is usually difficult, but they've been able to gain access, set up a house and build relationships with local people in a short period of time. "It's not been easy by any stretch of the imagination," Robert said. "But in a lot of ways we've been able to do something that should really be impossible, and I see that as a very big confirmation of God's will to have us in South Sudan."
Are you a willing servant, eager to be poured out for God and His glory? Are you serving out a heart of deep gratefulness and passionate worship?
Does God want us to be generous? “God calls us to be generous, not because he has needs, but because he wants us to become generous, as he is. Generosity is not something God wants from us, you see, as much as something he wants for us.”
― J.D. Greear, Jesus, Continued...: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You
Should an offering to God cost us something?
2 Samuel 24:24 (HCSB) (land on which to construct the temple)
24 The king answered, “No, I insist on buying it from you for a price, for I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost ⌊me⌋ nothing.”
Yes, because it’s not about giving something to God that He needs. It’s about giving to God a gift that cost us something in order to express how much we adore Him.
2. A Desire to Surrender
1 Samuel 15:22 (HCSB) (The Rebuke of Saul)
22 Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention ⌊is better⌋ than the fat of rams.
Luke 9:23 (HCSB)
23 Then He said to ⌊them⌋ all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily (embrace My agenda), and follow Me.
“Deny yourself” means a total surrender of every desire in your heart to God. Every dream, every desire, every ambition. You say “no” to all that you want from life so that you are ready to say “yes” to all that He wants from it.” (Loc. 1551)
To follow Jesus means that you die to any control you maintain over your life. Like a man on a cross, you place yourself under Jesus’ complete domination, with no more dreams of your own. Dead men have no more ambition for their lives.
Have you ever presented your life to God that way — with no conditions, no restrictions? (Loc. 1561)
Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB)
1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies (continually) as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
What should drive us? How do we worship God?
Is the Holy Spirit a divine butler or a mission commander?
“The true Spirit of Jesus serves the mission of the cross. His goal is to make the cross larger in our hearts and to compel us to yield our lives in service to its purpose. The Holy Spirit, you could say, is always leading to the cross or from it, to carry its message of healing to others.” (Loc. 1581)
It’s not about sitting around telling God, “whatever you want me to do, I will do.” It’s about telling the Lord, “Here I am send me.”
“In response to the gospel, seek to sacrifice, yearn to give, get ready to offer yourself, and look to the Holy Spirit to show you where He wants you to go and what He wants you to do.” (Loc. 1640)
A. What do you want to thank God for?
B. What do you desire from this life?
C. Give these things back to God as a sacrifice to Him. Saying, “Not my will but Yours be done.”
This was taken adapted from Chapter six of Jesus, Continued…: Why the Spirit Inside You Is Better Than Jesus Beside You.
by JD Greear.