January 15, 2015

Voluntary Sacrifice

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 15, 2015

I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father. John 16:28

Our church, like many churches, enjoys an incredible team of volunteers. Their devotion is first to their Lord Jesus—so they serve for the Lord and with the Lord. Some serve weekly, some every other week and others once a month, but they all show up with a cheerful heart ready to cheer other hearts. These enthusiastic volunteers park cars (their motto: the sermon starts in the parking lot), greet people, escort preschoolers to their rooms and invest years in small groups shaping the lives of children and teenagers. God’s volunteers serve at His pleasure for His glory.

Jesus volunteered to leave heaven and come to earth. He voluntarily laid down His life, came back to life and ascended back to heaven. Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice so we could have freedom from sin’s grip and gain life in Him. Christ left the comforts of sinless heaven to comfort people on a sin saturated earth. He gave of Himself so others could learn of Him. In the spirit of volunteerism—though Jesus was God, He became a servant, so all who believed would be saved. Our Lord’s voluntary sacrifice is a model for our voluntary sacrifice. We freely lay down our life.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7).

Where is Christ calling you to freely lay down your life for His bigger purpose? Some may seek to shame you if you walk away from a lucrative opportunity, but you know in your heart the Lord has a larger call on your life. As a mom or dad you lay down your life for your little ones, so they might come to know Jesus and follow Him in love and obedience. Is the Holy Spirit pushing you out of your comfort zone for Christ’s bigger cause? Voluntary sacrifice is not about you, but about the One who saved you. Let go of earthly pursuits, so you can grasp heaven’s goals.

Indeed, we are here on this planet a very short time before we go to be with our heavenly Father. Since the Lord orders our steps during our brief time here, let’s get our marching orders from our Master. When the Spirit says go, we go. When the Spirit says wait, we wait. It’s when our service with Christ stretches us that our faith is stretched. As we co-labor with our Lord we can know our labor is not in vain. Thus, we volunteer at church. We let go of our hurt feelings for another soul to be healed. By God’s grace we voluntarily lay down our life—so another can find life in Christ.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I give up my life—so I can gain Your life.

Related Readings: Matthew 20:28; John 1:14; Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Hebrews 2:17

Post/Tweet this today: When our service with Christ stretches us—our faith is stretched. #voluntarysacrifice #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: 4 minute song, “I Lay Down My Life” by the Sidewalk Prophets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx4Zpoo7ziQ

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