When I first said “yes” to God’s call on my life, I never imagined all that He had in store for me. I also never realized how much I would have to lay down to be obedient. Paul writes to the Philippians, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Philippians 3:7).
Loss may be a strong word because the reality is, all that I have lost has been entirely worth it. It may not have always felt like a loss, but it has always felt like a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, physical sacrifices of animals and grains were necessary to a relationship with God. When Christ became the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, those traditional sacrifices were done away with. But the concept of sacrifice remained.
The first evangelists of the Gospel were men and women who gave up their dreams, their families, their finances, their security, their health, and even their very lives. When we are willing to pray, “God, Send Me,” we must be willing to follow with, “whatever it takes.”
Sacrifice is hard. But sacrifice keeps us in a place of total dependence on God. He longs to be the first place we run when we are afraid, the arms we rest in when we are tired, and the name we proclaim when we have experienced abundant provision. He calls us to a life not defined by luxury, but defined by grace. He calls us to boldness, not comfort. He calls us to obedience, not control.
I love Philippians 3:7 in the New Living Translation because it reads, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.”
I am going to ask two questions, what do you consider valuable to you? Are you willing to lay it down?
Just a few weeks ago, I sat down to a coffee with a friend who tearfully told me that despite a deep longing in her heart to get married, she felt God calling her to lay down her desire. Although painful, she was willing. Her sacrifice is an example of genuine faith. To her, the sacrifice was worth it.
Another LeadHer member recently shared that she always dreamed of stability- a nice house, a nice car, a savings account, a retirement fund, yet when she rededicated her life to Jesus, she realized that there was no security where Jesus was not at the center. She was willing to give up the pursuit of a career with benefits to pursue God’s calling in her life in the church. To her, the sacrifice was worth it.
Sacrifice may look like finances, marriage, children, relationships, a career, a dream, a lifestyle, a house, an addiction, reputation, the church you grew up in, the country you were born in, security, or comfort.
As our LeadHer Chapters have been challenged to pray “Send Me” prayers, I found myself considering all that I have personally had to sacrifice. Some have been easy to lay down and call worthless, others have been incredibly painful. But David writes in the Psalms, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart” (Psalm 51:17, NLT). God honors the sacrifices we make when we do so with a broken heart, just as much as He honors the sacrifices that are made with an eager heart. I can confidently say today that everything that I have placed at the foot of the cross has been entirely worth it.
I challenge you to learn the art of sacrifice. Trust is so much greater when those things we consider valuable are sitting at the foot of the cross. Don’t just pray, “Send Me,” ask God what He is asking you to lay down. I know it is hard, and I know it can be painful, but I promise, it will be worth it.