A Call to Sacrifice

by | Apr 11, 2014 | Woman

Almost 2,000 years have passed since the death and resurrection of our Lord. Yet we still witness the powerful impact Christ’s passion has in our world. The huge box-office success of Son of God joins the lineup with movies like Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, giving us a vivid reminder of the incredible suffering and shame our Savior endured to atone for our sins and reconcile us to the Father. We may question why these portrayals have to be so bloody and graphic; however, the scenes are clearly in the Gospels. Nearly one-third of each is devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life. Blood and suffering are infused in the very foundations of the Christian faith.

How are Jesus-followers to respond? We must embrace the shock and shame of the agonizing death of our Savior. We must sense the horror and heartache of the bloody payment for sin. Yet we also experience unspeakable joy of the provision made possible through the wondrous cross. We embrace the crucifixion and the resurrection, the passion and the power at the same time. It is bittersweet and almost confusing.

Years ago, I was privileged to see a prerelease viewing of The Passion of the Christ with a group of local pastors. I can’t really describe what I felt and experienced both during and following this powerful depiction and unforgettable testament of my Lord’s suffering.

I became physically ill from the stress and emotion. While driving home from the theater, I reached into my handbag for something to relieve my headache. The Lord clearly spoke to my spirit, “I wasn’t able to reach for an Excedrin Migraine. I suffered it all without any painkillers.”

If suffering and sacrifice are an integral part of Scripture and the life of Christ, the question we must ask ourselves is: “Are suffering and sacrifice a part of my life?” Spurgeon once wrote that he was “certain that he had never grown in grace one-half so much anywhere as upon the bed of pain.”

Paul told the Romans, “We are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Rom. 8:17, NIV). Somehow, our Western culture and consumer capitalism have convinced us that God’s grace is merely to make life a joy ride to heaven—that persecution and suffering either ended with the New Testament or are limited to other countries.

German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was well-acquainted with suffering. He so eloquently wrote, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” In his book The Cost of Discipleship, Bonehoeffer reminds us, “Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship. The disciple is not above his master. Following Christ means passio passiva, suffering because we have to suffer.”

A true follower of Christ is called to take up His cross. It is a call to allegiance to the suffering Christ; therefore, it is not at all surprising that Christians should be called upon to sacrifice.

What are the consequences of refusing? Will we forfeit intimacy with Christ and cease to follow Him? If we are crucified with Christ, will we find our lives again in the fellowship of His joy and grace? Is God challenging us to join with Paul in pressing “toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”?

The call resounding for Christ’s church, especially in America, is the call to personal sacrifice. Not merely sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice or to claim I know Him in the fellowship of His suffering. The call is for the same reason that Christ suffered—that others might experience His resurrection life. Paul proclaimed, “I rejoice in my sufferings for you, and I am completing in my flesh what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for His body, that is, the church” (Col. 1:24, HCSB).

We are not called to be God’s pitiful people, too weak to break the chains of indifference that bind us to the status quo. We are called to be God’s chosen people, empowered by God’s grace and moving toward the promise of sacrificial love.

The meaning of the cross and the meaning of life are witnessed through His willingness to sacrifice for others, to be hurt for others, to die for others. In Jesus’ darkest hour, the voice of God breaks through, asking us the question: “Now do you understand how much I love you?”

Kay Horner is the executive director of the Awakening America Alliance.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Charisma Highlights: 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on charismamag.com over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. 7 Abilities for a New Agility in This Era The Lord first began speaking to me about the release of seven abilities...

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

As a Believer, Have You Been Hiding During This Culture War?

Many years ago, Jesus went up on a mountain, sat down, and spoke to the group he was with: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all...

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

10 Traits of Effective Churches During the Global Pandemic

In the past few years, the global pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of many local churches. Friends from around the world have told me that many churches have closed their doors for good. Although most churches have not returned to their pre-pandemic attendance...

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

The Supernatural Secrets of Real Revival

What does an authentic world-igniting revival look like? And, how are the seeds of revival planted? This we can learn from the life and work of William Joseph Seymour—God’s chosen vessel and apostle of the Azusa Street Revival.  Bishop William Joseph Seymour, was a...

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Spiritually Speaking, How Healthy Is Your Heart?

Once a year, I go to the doctor and get a check-up. And every time, one of the things they do is check my heart. A good thorough exam will reveal if there are any problems that need to be addressed before a heart condition arises. I believe we need to do the same...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am Releasing My Firebrands’

Recently while in worship, I was talking to the Lord when this prophetic flow began to come forth. I took out my phone and pressed record. This is the transcription of that word I received: "God, I see the firebrands rising up. God, I see the firebrands rising up. I...

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

How You Can Begin to Heal From Unanswered Prayer

The best way to grow in the prophetic is to look at the past. As backwards as that sounds, Revelation 19:10 tells us, “For the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy.” In other translations, this is said, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness...

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

Living in the Tension of Two Distinct Worlds

As a professional counselor, I have consoled hundreds of Christians through some of the most horrific life circumstances. Along with experiencing my own trials in life, it has caused me to deeply ponder the words of Scripture that refer to how we must learn to live in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Kingdom Economics: Who Do You Trust?

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released its first of three estimates for second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Second-quarter inflation-adjusted (real) GDP fell at an annual rate of...
Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

Jesus is My Friend, Not Sugar

It’s been at least 10 years since I’ve had cake for my birthday, which I celebrated recently. Strawberries with nuts are my favorite treats today. That was definitely not my choice in years past until I made some monumental decisions in about 2009. Not eating sugar...

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

Protecting the Promises of God for Your Life

I was walking along one of my favorite beaches, and it was turtle season. Early each morning, park services ride along the beach looking for new sea turtle nests. They record the nest's location, place stakes and rope off the location so that people do not disturb the...

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Curt Landry: What Are the Dangers of Soul Ties?

Soul ties form when we act in accordance with the flesh when developing or growing in a relationship with another person. This could be any relationship formed or grown out of shame, guilt, embarrassment, pride, loneliness, doubt and the like. Soul ties can develop...

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way to Leave a Church

This pandemic season hasn’t been easy—but pastors have suffered in unique ways. Statistics show that between 20-30% of churchgoers stopped attending in 2020, and the bulk of those people have not returned. In many cases, they never said goodbye. Many of my best...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]