Service and Sacrifice
Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:17-19
He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21
Being a Christian is not easy. It is definitely not problem-free, painless, or undemanding, even though some preachers, Christian books, TV shows and movies can at times portray such things. Following Jesus is instead a life of service and sacrifice for the One we are so in love with. This service and sacrifice, however, can be compared to the way a person feels about someone when he or she falls in love or the way parents feel about their children. We will sacrifice and work hard to please those we love, but much of the time it does not feel like work because we know how happy it makes them. The same can be true with Jesus. When we love Him, we think about how well our attitudes and actions will please our Lord even when they take effort on our part.
I love 1 Peter 1:17-19 because it is straight to the point. Once we have heard the Good News and received Christ as our Lord, we are now responsible for our actions as Christians and will be judged accordingly. That thought can be a little hard to swallow. Am I living every moment in a way that glorifies God? In each moment I should stop and ask myself that question. Proverbs 21:21 encourages us to “pursue righteousness.” The emphasis here is on the pursuit, people who try not people who do. If we are really trying (and God knows our hearts), then we will be blessed with good things—“life, prosperity and honor.” This is such a relief for me because we all fall short all of the time. He looks at the effort, however, and the heart first and judges us based on that rather than on the outcome. He also does not judge as we judge. He always sees us through His lens of unconditional love, mercy and grace.
Today’s Prayer: Abba, thank You for sacrificing for me. Thank You for saving me and giving me life. You have been there from the beginning all the way to the end. Please take my life and use it as a sacrifice back to You in honor of You and everything You have done for me. Give me a heart devoted to You whose motivation is purely for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.