Wisdom Hunters Daily Devotional

Wisdom Hunters daily devotionals is an Atlanta-based ministry created to encourage Christians to apply God’s unchanging Truth in a changing world. Sign up for the free daily devotional email here: http://www.wisdomhunters.com/daily-devotional-sign-up/

Self Sacrifice

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 8, 2014

Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:24-25, The Message

Jesus, fresh from raising Lazarus from the dead, decided to make his public appearance on a lowly beast. Those enamored by His power wondered why He didn’t make a grand entrance as a powerful warrior riding a sleek stallion. Even his disciples did not grasp this moment until after they experienced His glory. Jesus explains, as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9, that He was not coming as a conquering political figure, but as a humble servant who would die for our sin. Self sacrifice is the language of our Savior Jesus. He gave away His life: in His life and in His death.

So, as followers of Jesus, we are called to come and die. Though our flesh is drawn to flashy opportunities that promote power and prestige, our soul seeks quiet service on behalf of Christ. Our aim is not to jockey for fame on earth, but to point to the Famous One in heaven. The Lord’s fame is above every name. He alone is worthy of the glory ascribed to His displays of mercy and compassion through His children. Our self sacrifice is an excuse to glorify God.

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name” (John 12:27-28)!

Thus we ask ourselves, “What in my life do I need to let go of and give God?” “What attitudes or actions need to die, so Christ’s character can come alive in my life?” It may be a child who gives us grief. By faith we die to our need to be admired as a parent. In truth, regardless of our children’s spiritual maturity, our parenting is all grace. We must also learn to die to our right to be right, if we truly desire the work of the Holy Spirit to change our heart and another’s heart. Self sacrifice is not a badge of honor, but a simple two word job description for Jesus followers.

Moreover, as we experience great works of God it is necessary to double down on our desire to die to ourselves. Answered prayer, physical healing, application of truth, respect from peers, maturity of our gifts, relational wholeness, promotion at work and financial blessings are all reasons to remember the originator of our blessings. The Lord’s blessings are all individual altars for us to bow before and die to taking credit for accomplishments that come from Christ. Instead, we revel in our relationship with God and His goodness. We die to self, so we can live with Him!

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, what a joy and privilege to live for You. Any sacrifices I make are nothing compared to the greatest sacrifice of my Savior Jesus.

Related Readings: Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 10:39; Luke 14:26; 1 Corinthians 15:36; Acts 21:13

Post/Tweet today: Self sacrifice is not a badge of honor, but a simple two word job description for Jesus followers. #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: A brief video of one family’s joyful sacrifice: http://bit.ly/1m46XgD

Free eBook when you invite 5 friends to the free email devotional…http://www.wisdomhunters.com/invite-your-friends/

© 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved. www.wisdomhunters.com

One Comment

  1. Roger Wahlberg says:

    Beg to differ, Boyd. I lived the kind of life you very eloquently described when we were at FBA together. This life spoken of in the following is a total differ glorious life. It is not our life it is Christ’s life being lived through us and a big, big difference: “The seed must give up its own life for the sake of the crop; and he who will be life to others must, like his Lord, con sent to die. Here is the real meaning of that command, ” Let him deny himself and take up his cross.” Self denial is not cutting off an indulgence here and there, but laying the axe at the root of the tree of self, of which all indulgences are only greater or smaller branches. Self-righteousness and self-trust, self-seeking and self -pleasing, self-will, self- defense, self-glory — these are a few of the myriad branches of that deeply rooted tree. And what if one or more of these be cut off, if such lopping off of some few branches only throws back into others the self-life to develop more vigorously in them? And what is cross-bearing? We speak of our ‘ crosses ‘ — but the word of God never uses that word in the plural for there is but one cross — the cross on which the self- life is crucified, the cross of voluntary self-renunciation. How did Christ come to the cross? We read in Philippians the seven steps of his descent from heaven to Calvary. He had everything that even the Son of God could hold precious, even to the actual equal sharing of the glory of God. Yet for man’s sake what did he do? He did not hold fast even His equality with God, He emptied Himself, took on Him the form of a servant, was made in the like ness of fallen humanity; even more than this, He humbled Himself even as a man, identifying Himself with our poverty and misery and sin; He accepted death for our sakes, and that, the death of shame on the tree of curse. Every step was downward until He who had been worshipped by angels was reviled by thieves, and the crown of glory was displaced by the crown of thorns! That is what the cross meant to Him, And He says: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross and follow Me.” This cross is not forced upon us as are many of the little vexations and trials which we call ‘ our crosses ‘; it is taken up by us, in voluntary self- sacrifice for His sake. We choose self-abnegation, to lose our life in sacrifice that we may find it again in service.” G Muller of Bristol page 365-6

Leave a Comment